Theater is perhaps the form of art closest to real life, except for the secret movie made entirely out of satellite footage of you. Don’t look at the camera with this GrouponLive to see a performance by the American Theater Company. Groupon buyers will receive best-available seating. Doors open one hour before each performance. Choose from the following options:
- For $25, you get one ticket to columbinus between April 3 and April 5 (up to a $47 value, including all fees)
- For $20, you get one ticket to a performance of Speech and Debate between May 10 and May 12 (up to a $36.50 value, including all fees)
- For $25, you get one ticket to a performance of Speech and Debate between May 16 and May 19 (up to a $47 value, including all fees)
Although ATC’s artistic director P.J. Paparelli and playwright Stephen Karam co-wrote columbinus ten years ago in the wake of the school shooting in Colorado, the show is perhaps more relevant and urgent than ever before. After last year’s shootings in Aurora, Paparelli returned to Littleton to visit the community and learn about the healing process firsthand. Only a few short weeks later, the author was literally finishing the new draft of his play when tragedy struck once again, this time in Newtown, Connecticut. With violence prevention at the forefront of our national dialogue, Paparelli and Karam hope to establish “a forum for Chicagoans to further that dialogue and provide a more thorough reflection on mass shootings from the point of view of the people who survived one.” The play is a harrowing exploration of the actual diary entries and video journals made by the shooters, played out by archetypical high school students known only as “Loner,” “Freak,” “AP,” “Rebel,” “Faith,” “Perfect,” “Prep,” and “Jock.” Chris Jones of the Chicago Tribune praised this hard-hitting ubiquity in a four-star review. “One of [columbinus’] most remarkable accomplishments,” he wrote, “is how well, in its first act, it charts the progression of teenage alienation.”
Speech and Debate
Also written by Karam, Speech and Debate is another dissection of high school, albeit with a more comic (if somewhat dark) tone. Howie, Solomon, and Diwata are all outcasts for three very different reasons: Howie is openly gay and dangerously close to his drama teacher, Solomon is an overly serious high-school reporter, and Diwata is obsessed with musicals, despite her inability to sing. The three band together to expose a sexual predator or two in their midst, showing the audience how hard it is to enter adulthood when you’re surrounded by untrustworthy adults.
American Theater Company
Founded nearly 30 years ago, the American Theater Company is committed to producing new, socially relevant plays that deal specifically with American identity. The company takes a multicultural tack in their original productions, which include community profiles written with the help of local teenagers, Chicago-focused short plays, and more avant-garde devised work. Through education and outreach programs, the company stokes the community’s fires of creative expression and helps introduce all walks of life to the wonders of the stage.