The Book of Joseph | Chicago Shakespeare Theater | Theater & Performance | Chicago Reader
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click to enlarge Adam Wesley Brown and Francis Guinan

Adam Wesley Brown and Francis Guinan

Liz Lauren

When: Tuesdays-Sundays. Continues through March 5 2017
Price: $48-$58
Karen Hartman’s rich, multilayered play begins as a straightforward stage adaptation of Richard Hollander’s 2007 book Every Day Lasts a Year: A Jewish Family's Correspondence From Poland, which recounts his refugee father’s efforts to stay in the USA in the late 1930s and early '40s and get his extended family out of Nazi-occupied Poland. But halfway through, the play turns meta, moving the focus from the heroic father to the American-born son, and to the gnarly question of how much the son fictionalized his father in his book. Seasoned by years of directing Shakespeare, Barbara Gaines has crafted a simple, powerful production for this world premiere, uncluttered by unnecessary sets or props. Instead the story is carried by Hartman’s words and an A-list cast—Francis Guinan and Sean Fortunato are riveting as the shy, self-effacing son (and storyteller) and his fierce, focused, and idealized survivor father. —Jack Helbig



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