Unseen | Gift Theatre Company | Theater & Performance | Chicago Reader
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click to enlarge Alexandra Main and Ashley Agbay

Alexandra Main and Ashley Agbay

Claire Demos

When: Thursdays-Sundays. Continues through April 9 2017
Price: $30-$40
Playwright Mona Mansour's ambition exceeds her craft in this promising but unsatisfying world-premiere one-act. Set mostly in Istanbul just before the 2016 failed coup, the story focuses on increasingly traumatized war-zone photographer Mia, her wise and patient girlfriend Derya, and her moneyed, semi-blinkered mother Jane. Mansour never shies from big issues, whether personal (addiction, PTSD), professional (journalistic ethics in the face of human suffering), or political (Americans’ inbred penchant for isolationism). But she tends to compartmentalize the issues, often making her plotting feel contrived in service of illustration and edification. Still, she places nuanced characters in compelling situations, which gives director Maureen Payne-Hahner and her impassioned cast ample opportunities to transform stilted dialogue into deeply affecting scenes. Alexandra Main's performance as the perpetually hamstrung Jane is meticulous and heartbreaking. —Justin Hayford



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