The Mars Assignment | Collaboraction | Theater & Performance | Chicago Reader
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Joel Maisonet

When: Thursdays-Sundays. Continues through Nov. 20 2016
Price: $10-$30
Collaboraction puts mission first in this PSA about the hidden-in-plain-sight nature of clinical depression. After each performance, a representative from various nonprofit organizations with expertise in helping people who live with mental illness moderates a talkback. On opening night, a speaker from the National Alliance on Mental Illness Chicago told a personal story about a dangerously unprofessional encounter between law enforcement and a family member of hers who needed aid. Moments later, a police officer in the audience apologized for her experience and promised better—it was a compelling exchange in line with writer and director Ronan Marra and cocreator Elsa Hiltner's vision. I wish anything in the didactic one-act that preceded it were as engaging or touched similarly challenging territory; instead, it's a flat, scowling, surface-level depiction of mental illness. —Dan Jakes

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