Prowess | Broadway Armory Park | Theater & Performance | Chicago Reader
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click to enlarge Sydney Charles and Julian Parker in Prowess

Sydney Charles and Julian Parker in Prowess

Joel Maisonet

When: Thursdays-Sundays. Continues through June 25 2016
Price: $15-$30
I've got to admit I was worried. It was barely two months ago that A Red Orchid Theatre premiered Ike Holter's extraordinary Sender, and now another new Holter script would be getting its premiere, this one at Jackalope Theatre. The law of averages suggested that, for all his talent, Holter was unlikely to connect so well again so soon. But I was so happily wrong. Prowess is just as stunningly good as Sender, though different in tone. The story follows a familiar comic-book trope: Drawn together by their pain, four outcasts turn themselves into ninja vigilantes and kick Chicago gangbanger ass. The results, however, suggest anything but feel-good underdogism. Prowess falters at the end, when it comes time to pitch the moral(s) of the story. Yet even then we've got Holter's uncanny language, bypassing even conventional distinctions among characters to turn Prowess into something more like a harsh, funny, wised-up, yearning, breakneck utterance than a play. Sinewed with strong performances, Marti Lyons's staging sprints right along with it. —Tony Adler



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