Dr. 2's Surgery with The Darkness After Dawn at the Factory Theater

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Patient: The Darkness After Dawn

Legal Guardians: Playwright Manny Tamayo, Director Mandy Walsh

Surname: Factory Theater Ensemble

Address: 1623 W Howard Street Chicago, IL 60626

Insurance: Paperkutz

Symptoms: Gunny McShooty, artistic duress, the Filth


Diagnosis: Cliches After Dawn


What makes you think the funds in your bank will satisfy me?
— Renzo

Operation Overview:

I was physically nauseated for unrelated reasons before entering surgery. I went to a three star restaurant earlier and ordered their fried seafood dinner. They gave me so many scallops, Nurse 911… so many scallops. My plate was like a private island mound… of scallops. I believe I will win the Unbiased Doctor of the Year Award because of my dedication to withstand a whole surgery while wafting stomach sickness but disallowing it to intervene with the patient’s surgery.

The Factory Theater is a modern storefront theater with an authentic reminder for their audience: “most Chicagoans created theater companies because they didn’t want to wait for the right kind of shows to appear—they wanted to make them.” Props to the Factory for not including their actors’ resumes in the playbill. More theaters need to leave room only for art. Their black box was decked out with sublime seats for the audience. The stage was well suited for the particular play, but it’s so simple, clever, and pliable, that I can imagine the layout being the back drop of almost any interior scene with little interchange. Lighting, tech, and set crew accented the scenes perfectly.

After the facade, the patient turned terminal. Their vital script was unsalvageable during surgery. The actors and dialogue came on strong, but after the first scene’s movement, the seams ripped into a full malfunction. The actors where faithfully invested and bringing their A-game, but the script is so simplistic and unoriginal that no special delivery or magical celebrity could repair it. It has all the tricks of an eleventh-hour drama. The only gimmick the writer forgot was… “What about… the baby?!” I had no idea what the through-line was. Tamayo attempted some tricky-dickens tripartite deception, but I would suggest they mend their basic forms before attempting such a maneuver. I wondered why the portrait on the easel, the centerpiece of the play’s symbolism, was pantomimed and blank. If it’s important, commission an artist. The rough n’ tumble scenes were uncomfortably amateur; I’ve seen better fights from impromptu.

The actors had their personal flaws apart from the stilted one-liners. Blake Dalzin was feisty as Renzo, but his character in particular was a megaphone for the script’s flaws. He was often out-of-tune and unable to mitigate the awkward lines. Bradford Stevens as Hughes was as energetic and deaf as his partner in crime. Allison Cain as Rosemary was a beacon of organic speakin’. Her lines, however, were not free from the script’s bumps; I found myself cringing with her as well. Jose Cervantes as Jaime and Samantha Newcomb as Aurora were notably dedicated minors bringing real visceral moments to the performance. Their roles had the least amount of script croaks.

The patient will not make it. Harvest the actors from the piece and donate them to a new patient. The script is dead at one star. I’d like to give the actors a four star rating, but their performance was so curved by the ill script that I cannot say I know their true ability. The patient will be buried with a two star health rating with a diligent effort from the actors to bring it to life.

After I got home, I went to the washroom and instantly upchucked an explosion of sour scallops. I was dripping with catharsis.

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Nurse 911's diagnosis of Man of the People by Dolorez J Diaz

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Patient: Man of the People

Legal Guardian: Dolorez J Diaz

Insurance: Paperkutz

Symptoms: randomness rashes, inexplicable self-elevation

Diagnosis: Jump Cut Contamination

Patient Description:

Sorry for the delay, Doctor. I’ve come back from my continuing education courses on theater nursing. I am now trained in onstage and offstage CPR! Today’s patient is a simple piece: it’s filled with simple people in a simple time within 1930s Kansas. In this simple story there is a doctor intent on making himself known as a miracle worker within the medical community. Amateur detectives from the American Medical Association are hot on his trail to find out what makes Brinkley hailed by the townsfolk. I was enjoying this simple story until the constant gaps in its progression. Scenes cut to the next almost randomly without much context for explanation. Guiding actions lack subtlety and grace to offer the plot no natural flow. The characters themselves seem to cut to different personalities between scenes. Why does Brinkley go from a resolute man of his trade to a menace of society within the time it takes to heat a hotpocket? In any case, this piece needs some work beefing up each of its scenes with more content. I've issued a health rating of 2 out of 5 stars with a prescription of whey protein.

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Dr. 2's Surgery with Patient Red Bike at the Jedlicka Performing Arts Center

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Patient: Red Bike

Legal Guardians: Playwright Caridad Svich, Director Samantha Nieves

Surname: Morton College

Address: 3801 South Central Avenue, Cicero

Insurance: PagePay Plus

Symptoms: Yearnin’ and peddlin’


Diagnosis: Dude


People ask what my parents do. I tell them, ‘They make people happy.’
— Alejandro Salinas

Operation Overview:

“RED-BIKE-RED-BIKE-RED-BIKE.” Damn it, it’s in my head. “RED-BIKE-RED-BIKE-RED-BIKE. RED-BIKE-RED-BIKE-RED-BIKE.” I liked the stage lights. They were red. The stage was pulsing red when they said “RED-BIKE-RED-BIKE-RED-BIKE.” It was aggressive, bold. Wow.

The actors were picturesque while the scene was a properly tiered mess—what a dump. The last time I came over to the Jedlicka, the backdrop for The Last Five Years was the monolithic iceberg from the movie Titanic. This time, the scene and lights created something cozy but energetic, just like the lil’ dreamers themselves. The theater’s surrounding town of Cicero is like any other suburb around Chicago, but to me, it felt more spacey and slower than the rest. The young adults in this play were an organic local harvest.

Svich’s narration consistently tugs the audience to listen in on these kids’ soliloquies like ecstatic diary entries. The tone was transcendent and mostly not bogus. The young actors where enthralling; they perfectly synthesized with Svich’s script. “When I grow up,” where the magic words of this world. The story, though, was far from immortal. I was distracted at the middle and towards the end, almost not catching it. Drama is present, but its impact was laced with a dash of cliches (RED-BIKE-RED-BIKE-RED-BIKE) too simplistic even for a YA theme. This includes the light antagonist. The style and plot was about gazing at the stars and planning one’s future by connecting the dots. I still felt… that… the symbolic antagonist… was not prominent…. enough… or else what was the necessity… of peddling desperately away on… RED-BIKES-RED-BIKES-RED-BIKES?

The patient was convulsing with amateur hour. Lines were shaky and sometimes droned. The playbill introduced fresh student actors, but for the full priced ticket and mainstream advertisement that reeled in moi, these issues should have been addressed for a crisper showtime. They really knocked down the show’s quality. The spirit was there but considerably lacking in articulation. Mara Galeno was appropriately darling and optimistic but overly wonky, as to be unbelievable and lame with half her stage presence. Alejando Salinas had the loudest authentic voice, but even he had his stilted deliveries. I liked Marco Arias; he was a go-getting young leader, but still he lacked sophistication with the rest of his stoop kid troupe. In a way, these flaws made the kiddies more appealing as kiddies within a play, but I still couldn’t help cringing from my seat.

The play’s message was noble and nostalgic, but did not leave any memorable taste in my mouth. The characters, tone, and dialogue took off with Svich’s talent, but I never departed with it. I was never naturally brought to a conclusion because the lack of an involved antagonist did away with one. I grew weary of the speculative style; this would have been fine if it weren’t for the small ideas that were deceptively too small for this small town script. I didn’t leave with anything more than my first impression from the posters: young kiddies dreaming from their RED-BIKES-RED-BIKES-RED-BIKES. With sharper actors and a more sober script, this patient will heal well to a four star health rating, but currently rests post-op with a three star health rating.

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Dr. 2's Surgery with Patient Monger at the Greenhouse Theater Center

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Patient: Monger

Legal Guardians: Playwright Mary Bonnett, Director John Mossman

Surname: Greenhouse Theater Center

Address: 2257 N Lincoln Ave, Chicago

Insurance: Paperkutz

Diagnosis: Hobbyist


Symptoms: teenage angst, casual criminality, broken dreams


Are you a Jake, Dad?
— Eddie

Operation Overview:

I entered the patient’s surgery room with slight surprise. It was immediately immersive. It was the set of a seasoned theater designer. It was the best deal a minimal black box had to offer: a kiss of minimalism while still feeling full. The screen projections that displayed the perverse computer lurking of the monger were framed with a (finally) tasteful fragmented design. These typical typing sessions could have been dangerously boring to the audience, but their creeper chat rooms totally brought a Law and Order SVU vibe to the stage. That is hard to do with authenticity. I’m so tired of Mademoiselle A being pounced by Evil Stalker Guy B—BUH BUH. I’m glad Christopher Meloni left SVU late in the show.

Nurse, why have we been seeing so many three to two man patients? Is there profit in this? Is there a mall kiosk somewhere in Broadway, New York, selling these scripts by the dime? The story was good, but you know, I’m just sayin’. Ira Amyx as J.B. Benton stole my heart with his sexslavephilia. He was boyish in his relationships with family and clients but delicate with his sinful pornography, wretchedly wonderful.

Legal Guardian Mary Bonnett has a refined taste for dialogue, but the child/parent dynamic was too unbalanced to ignore. Joshua Zambrano as little Eddie had too much power. He shut down the stakes for his dad too early. I’m not sure what the parent had to lose with almost no limiting circumstance. The play’s flaw is in disguise as the character’s flaw as a teenage brat, but even brats get spanked sooner. Mr. Benton’s authoritative personality was irrationally patient toward his son; this bothered me beyond a mere projection of my own morals upon him.

There was no meandering, but certain segments were inescapably drawn out. The story had good action to keep things moving, but a few scenes could have been almost half as long as they needed to be: Ms. Edward’s interviews were the main sinners. Jamise Wright as Ruth summoned a mother’s woe-ridden thunderstorm to the stage, but the script’s pauses, stretches, and repetition dampened her energy. I experienced the creeping impetus and rising suspicion of the grieving parent, but the scenes need some sacrifice with the scalpel. With these issues addressed, the patient will be a devilishly handsome five star political piece.

The Doctor salutes The Dreamcatcher Foundation which provides support and specialization for the prevention of human trafficking. They provided an inspiring talkback after the show with a former prostitute who shared an intense journey of love, camaraderie, and hope found through the program. Good work, ladies.

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Dr. 2's surgery with patient The Aliens at the Collaboraction's Pentagon Theater

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Patient: The Aliens

Legal Guardians: Playwright Annie Baker, Producer Alexandra Shields, Director Gus Schlanbusch

Surname: Aegis Theatre Company

Address: 1579 N Milwaukee Ave Chicago, IL

Insurance: Bookmarx

Symptoms: second hand smoke, psychedelics, guitars


Diagnosis: Geniuses


You guys aren’t supposed to be back here.
— Evan

Operation Overview:

This diagnosis agonized me. I did and didn’t enjoy Ms. Baker’s script. The entire story felt like a subplot. That was the plot. The marginalized lost boys smoked cigarettes, weedijuana, psychedelics, and plucked the guitar at the back of a restaurant. It’s plain; I get it; I didn’t like it. I had friends like these so I’m not alien (hah) to the genre. It reminded me of the cinema Stand By Me with its small town American boys just trying to grow up.

The indulgent pauses in the intro demanded rather than invited a tone of authenticity. This quickly put me on guard. Peter Giessl started the show with America’s favorite bad boy pastime: cigarette brooding. Oh, hell yea—more… pausing! Griffin Johnston was a perfect Evan. I like the way he, like, the calls… he, um. I liked the calls he made with his… um. It was like—the way he… Anyway… at least there’s Evan. Miles Potter kept kindling the audience with KJ’s humor, but Ms. Baker’s script continued to bog down action with a swamp of thought speculation from the characters. I imagine she’d argue that the pauses are for the realism but it’s already there, Miss. It was present the first three times.

I yearned for a more dramatic back ally plot in Nowhere town. The writing was too offhand. Again, this was the content of the genre! Is it I who is simply not immersing themselves in the narrative? No, I held on to my impression: I wasn’t. I didn’t make the essential bond with the characters. One more act could have done it. When the climax’s sickle came swinging for the harvest I wasn’t moved.

The story brought drama to the table, but if a few undulations of emotion defined a healthy patient, then I wouldn’t be in the business of curing the weak in spirit because none could be defined as such. I’ll assign four stars for the Aegis Theater company actors and three for Baker. It was… alright.

Update 10-26-2018

The patient grew on me over time. My cerebral impression was cautiousness from the scary long pauses. “Uh oh, the characters are trying to be profound.” My better feelings invited me back to Ms. Baker’s play without my permission. Miles Potter was a picturesque KJ; it was his moments that acted as checkpoints in the drama that are still concreted within me. I want to extend my four star health rating to Ms. Baker’s script as well, not just the Aegis Theatre Company. I remain consistent with my criticism that some crucial emotional hooks missed with me, namely with Jasper the character apart from the actor. If just one more dramatic element were present, I would feel inclined to give the play a five star health rating. It was… pretty good.

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Dr. 2's diagnosis of Breath Me In by Rachel Lynett

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Patient: Breath Me In

Legal Guardian: Playwright Rachel Lynett

Insurance: Paperkutz

Symptoms: explosion induced deafness, piano twinkling

Diagnosis: Neurosis

I just want to write bad pop songs that make people cry in their cars.
— Erin

Patient Description:

The patient is critical. She’s hooked up to a revision machine and slowly regaining her energy. The dialogue is chat, just chit-chat. It has no purpose; it’s not inviting. One could say it’s character based awkwardness, but the main players are still mannequins. Adam’s nervousness is stilted and kills the pace. Even as a character flaw, the patient’s form is too hindered. His comments on black stereotypes are not funny and hardly worth ruminating. The patient’s subtext is juvenile with “maybes” and “kind ofs” as passive instructions for the actor. At times the commands were inverse as telling. What’s the number for the patient’s insurance?

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Dr. 2's surgery with patient (Not) Another Day at the Prop Thtr

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Patient: (Not) Another Day

Legal Guardians: Playwright Jenny Magnus, Technical Wrangler Stefan Brün.

Surname: Curious Theatre Branch

Address: Prop Thtr [sic] 3502 N. Elston Ave

Insurance: PagePay Plus

Symptoms: plot hole, not whole, plot hole


Diagnosis: He-can’t-be-forced-to-leave


He’s been on the show so long he’s an institution.
— Vicki

Operation Overview:

Nurse… um… I was… confused. The patient was… experimental. It was fun. It didn't have a plot. That was the plot: to discover the plot. The actors were impressively involved in dancing out the confusion. They lived as the sporadic gears of a nonstop cuckoo clock. The show was poppin’ with eccentric energy that made me laugh out loud. I wasn't pleased, however, with the overall fragmented experience. 

The television interludes of the soap opera that the Writer was editing were hilarious at times, but after the fifth round of intentional deterioration of the same episode, I was wondering if I was still watching a theater show. The wonkiness became hypnotic and served only to give authority to small thoughts in a haywire dialogue. Again, at first the irony was hilarious and curious, but then the giggles started to sag. Behind the wall of semi-musical freestyle, there was almost no content: not even a broad through-line. If there was one, I wasn’t invited to find it. A lack of plot, in a plot, about a lack of plot, is not the justification for its own lack of plot! The speech was pure madness; every paragraph was bloated with evil non sequiturs. Not more than three sentences in a row would make sense. This was my biggest peeve with this show and this genre, but perhaps I’m too Christian.

All actors onstage were darling, despite my distaste for the script. The virtue of the experimental theater is their freedom: the actors and MC brought the audience to ride on their desired wavelength. The rodeo started to die down after the high strung zingers lost their punch. My advice to the legal guardians would be more relevant free association that doesn't meander off the walls. I've prescribed some downers because the irony got scary with the peripheral wild sex in the holy chapel. Counterintuitively, this was when the performance was the most vapid. When the patient is ready to behave, I'll raise them up to three stars while other Freudian wizards may appreciate them at four.

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Dr. 2's surgery with patient ILY at the Greenhouse Theater

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Patient: ILY

Legal Guardians: Playwright Jennifer Bradley, Director Kayla Menz

Surname: Unheard Of Theater Company

Address: The Greenhouse Theater, 2257 N Lincoln Ave, Chicago, IL 60614

Insurance: Bookmarx Medical


Symptoms: teenage lurv, bae time, homo love

Diagnosis: awkwaaaaaaaaaaardness.


I’ve got everything I need right here.
— Brandon

Operation Overview:

The set was a bit bare, but when it comes to economical, nothing beats the quick brick wall. The actors were immediately involved on stage and promised a crisp show. The sex was kinda sexy, but the awkward scenes often felt drawn out. Frequent bedside brooding told the tales of hot monogamy, but repetitive use of the pause button kept putting the audience on hold. This caused a number of stale moments, but the actors always kept it fresh. The Unheard Of Company debut didn’t have much to add to their bare bone playbill. No confetti?

The sincerity and conviction of the actors made the show inviting, but the patient’s script is hungry for a stronger set of stories. They were too basic with too little a tinge to make them notable. Less dialogue and a spoonful of drama would have given these lovebirds more color for their wings. The patient’s health rating is like a high school break-up before heading to college: bittersweet, but not the end.

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Dr. 2's diagnosis of patient Man and Moon by Siena Marilyn Ledger

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Patient: Man and Moon

Legal Guardian: Playwright Siena Marilyn Ledger

Insurance: PagePay Plus

Symptoms: cancer, transsexualism, guitars and stars

Diagnosis: lunacy blues

Not all things that exist make sense.
— Aaron

Patient Description:

The patient opened up to me with natural dialogue and good pacing. Afterward, their health steadily declined without much to save it. The two man show is flat: it's missing another subplot or a more dramatic main one. The story is poignant, but never eventful, with the only action scene feeling like a false catharsis because Luna is so cheesy, even for her young age. Luna is actively boring while Aaron is passively boring. Aaron…needs to…stop being…brooding because…the audience…is waiting…no more…triple dots. Luna's scientific chit-chat goes from charming to trite to goading. Not sure why most Pronouns where Capitalized; it was likely subtext For transsexualism, but it Wasn't consistent. Aaron could use more considerable content for their trans monologues, but they did begin to invite my sympathy with their pathos. Revising these with an Rx of Cliché-Away to make Luna less saccharine would help this sincere patient reach a four star rating. For now, it waits in the ward with a two star rating.

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Dr. 2's surgery with patient The Last Five Years at the Jedlicka Performing Arts Center

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Patient: The Last Five Years

Legal Guardian: Playwright and Composer Jason Robert Brown, Director Rachel Elise Johnson and Isaac Loomer. Music Director Annabelle Revak

Surname: Jedlicka Performing Arts Center

Address: 3801 South Central Ave., Cicero, 60804

Insurance: Paperkutz


Symptoms: "nah-nah-nah-nah-nah-nah-nah-nah-nah"

Diagnosis: It's time to be happy


He’s insane... but look what he can do.
— Catherine

Operation Overview:

Honestly, a "two-man musical" sounds either like a theatrical get-rich-quick scheme, or an inhumane actor experiment to be conducted in the dungeons of off-off-off-Broadway. Nobody asked me for my social security, and the actors looked like they had enough vitamin D. I'll marginalize my suspicion for now.

Ick, rolling stages. Nothing says "transition time" like a giant, rumbling platform. The giant rumbling scenes, however, where well decorated in the petite space given. The main stage was like a bad marriage: at first some artifices hid its flaws, but the longer one sat with it, the more prominent those flaws became. The outside of the proscenium and the musical's live band were all creatively framed, but the main wall of the stage seemed like a rough draft or an outline. I like minimalist and economical, but it was brutally amateur as the main set piece. It was downright disgusting, vague, artificial, and even distracting. The basic color white was likely chosen to give way to transparency for the lights and to avoid distraction, but this decision completely backfired. I liked the pretty lights; the pretty lights made me feel good. They seemed to prefer Catherine's soliloquys as they helped her negative emotions pop or weep. 

The two actors of the two-man-musical were no ordinary actors: they were... super actors. The aforementioned small spaces and full length tap-dance pressured these actors into hyper hamsters on Mach five wheels. At first I felt fear because they were so damn strong—like ox. Natalie Rae as Catherine Hiatt was emotionally combustive with the most trenchant pantomiming I've ever seen. Curtis Bannister is a wizard of facial expression. My countenance felt sore just from watching him, but he never seemed histrionic. I'll always remember him as the best Jewish clock I've ever seen. Uplifting an entire performance naturally gave these players their exercise.

I wanted to give the patient a robust health rating, but a stinky je ne sais quoi had hovered over me like a meek fart cloud. What was it that disallowed me to make the final leap to fall in love? Because the actors were rockstars, I can make the conclusion that the fault of the show lay with the legal guardian. The story wasn't unique: it was too quotidian, or at least too subtle for my taste. It was certainly drawn out. I did relish the monologues the legal guardian had intended to be considered, but still, the drama felt too soft. At four stars out of five, this patient is doing fi-ne-ne-ne-ne-ne-ne-ne-ne!


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Dr. 2's diagnosis of patient The Brownings by Sam Henderson

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Patient: The Brownings

Legal Guardian: Playwright Sam Henderson

Insurance: Paperkutz

Symptoms: period blood, scotch, morphine, psychosis

Diagnosis: loco

I’m just gonna drink this ink, insert this pen into my urethra, and swallow my tongue.
— Robert Browning

Patient Description:

Nurse, hand me my anti-bias pills. No, they're for me; histrionics are a theme in this one. I was initiatlly impressed by the considerate poetry in the monologues, but the legal guardian didn't write these: Lizzy did. The patient's plot imported poetic artifacts to conjure up a story about the nonfiction Browning; its purpose was merely to decorate the legal guardian's profane taste. Was Elizabeth Barrett Browning this wild? Her antiquated morphine prescription morphed into a license for dramatic vulgarity. Natural dialogue, exciting build-up, smooth transitions, and insightful subtext show that the legal guardian was raised better: just like Browning's rep. Schumann's late meandering is unfun and can be generously sliced. I'd mention the utter futility of the fourth-wall-breaking cliché, but the patient is already dead. Let the defibrillator get to it in the morning.

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Dr. 2's surgery with patient Crowns at the Fleetwood-Jourdain Theatre

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Patient: Crowns

Legal Guardian: Playwright Regina Taylor, Director Tim Rhoze and Co-Director Bria Walker

Surname: Fleetwood-Jourdain Theatre

Address: The Fleetwood Jourdain-Theatre 927 Noyes St, Evanston, IL 60201

Insurance: Bookmarx Medical


Symptoms: feathers, sparkles, ribbons

Diagnosis: good hair day


Put a hat on your head.
— Velma

Operation Overview:

WAM, BAM—what an intro. The patient hit a home run on the first pitch. These women were on fire, and the only thing keeping them cool were those thousand dollar hats. I felt like I lost my hat virginity in this intimate shotgun of a show. My crown, she is deflowered. 

The legal guardian's main plot was just a tad basic, but it gave way to a string of short stories that went with every hat on stage. At first I wondered why Fredrick Harris as "Man" was the only man on stage. Man, he was The Man. This was a woman's show; there's no doubt. Man, however, was not marginalized. He was such a powerful shaman that I felt washed in the river sitting in the second row. The sermon turned African…the lights shifted orange… things got primal. We were on that base level. It was fun and it was spiritual.

Everyone in the patient's cast was a superstar. The ladies were a sassilicious joy from the start. Asia Jackson as Yolanda was an explosion of energy—every show needs something like her as an opener. Qiana McNary as Mable and Robin Beaman as Wanda were the black-lady-humor wizards of the show. Tuesdai Perry faithfully delivered darling zinger after darling zinger. If Harris was "The Man," then Mardra Thomas as Mother Shaw and Renee Lockette as Velma where "The Women." They responsibly carried the profound through line of what it means to be a black queen. The photos on the wall smiled for all the actors.

I was confused that we went to surgery with such a healthy patient. The master of ceremonies was the only prick in the performance. While he was exciting, I was turned off by the trumpeting of the actors' and playwright's resume. The playbill itself is a festoon of virtue vocab: no artistic statements? Not in my Indie Office. 300mg of Humilitin will be prescribed for this blip. With faithfulness to the Rx, the patient will recover with a five star health rating.

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Dr. 2's surgery with patient Scenes for a Green World at the Greenhouse Theater Center

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Patient: Scenes for a Green World

Legal Guardian: Playwright Michael Brayndick

Surname: On the Spot Theatre Company

Address: 2257 N Lincoln Ave, Chicago IL 60614

Insurance: Paperkutz

Symptoms: shroomy, bloomy, gloomy


Diagnosis: Alzheimers


I meant to bring [my umbrella]. I guess I forgot that, too.
— Dina

Operation Overview:

When I had arrived at the surgery room, I was immediately impressed by the warm, metro stage. I love economical sets. The welcome was classy with the internment camp exhibit that exposed the play's tragedy. Well received, I sat pretty with my 10 dollar Malbec. It was actually nine dollars, but I tipped the bartender for opening the bottle: bravo.

  The patient's script was professionally refreshing. Consistently easy transitions and tasteful dialogue put most of my pet peeves on vacation. The writing for the extended sittings do not rot the characters into couch potatoes. I'm surprised the legal guardian could crank out a stationary but engaging piece of two acts. I began to grow upset, however, when the third hour came around; I was wondering if I should exeunt to put more money in the parking meter. The meandering needed a generous slice with the scalpel.

  The actors are the main source of disconcertment. Ginger Leopoldo as Hiroko was animated, clear, but disconnected from her lines. She was so unattuned that she stilted the performance with a nonstop cheerful and conventional tone that derailed from the sobriety. She was darling, picturesque, and well picked for the optimistic Hiroko, but an inability to steer these virtues led to an overcompensation that eviscerated the script's poignant points. With half of Hiroko missing, the whole play's live depth sank.

  The patient's writing shone through the soliloquys. Hiroko's first love and Dina's savior mushrooms were succinct stories in themselves. Liliana Mitchell was more faithful in bringing trauma to life authentically, but even she shared the occasional flaw of being unable to frown at critical times while discussing Dina's sad past. While one could say this was the disposition of their characters as battered women projecting defense mechanisms through smiles, I focused on the actors' delivery and remain unimpressed.

  Even with these mortal wounds, the ladies were identical with their characters. Ms. Leopoldo always succeeded as the supportive sweetheart and Ms. Mitchell always hit the high note as a crisp Jewish woman. The both of them are sincerely strong women; this was my initial vibe of the play. I couldn't think of more exact models for Brayndick's dyad.

  The kiddies were cute. Osamu was a stud via James Macapagal; he was always a smooth operator. Emma Brayndick was an inverted edition of Leopoldo and Mitchell: her tragedy was touching but her comedy didn't reach the roof. While she containted 90% good energy, she lacked the 10% zinger that Sadie's lines demanded. Her brief moment of stage fighting was so flat that it dried out the rest of my Malbec.

  The story was a success; I understood the tone, but it felt like it was lacking more drama or one more subplot, especially for the brute length. The children got along almost too easily and the mommies hardly put up a fight. The side story, thus, contained little resistance. A heavier background plot and sharper actors would bring this garden to life with a four star health rating, but for now, remains at a three star health rating. 

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Dr. 2's surgery with patient The Lady Demands Satisfaction at the City Lit Theater

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Patient: The Lady Demands Satisfaction

Legal Guardian: Playwright Arthur M. Jolly, Director Morgan Manasa

Surname: Babes with Blades Theatre Company

Address: City Lit Theater 1020 W Bryn Mawr Ave., Chicago, IL, 60660

Insurance: Bookmarx Medical


Symptoms: Wigs, swords, the English, broken furniture

Diagnosis: Backstabbed

— Luitger

Operation Overview:

There was too much untranslated German. There, I said it. Next time I think a patient is going to be dripping with untranslated German, I'll bring someone who speaks German to translate all the German. Moving on, the troupe delivered an exciting performance that left me wanting more from Edgewater's circuit. My hiatus from surgery has left me so rusty that I wonder why I still call myself a doctor. The patient's story plays at intentional grandiloquence; the subtitle, "A Jolly Farce" succinctly warns you of the theme. The plot, overall, was questionable, but I enjoyed the screaming and the German.


  This troupe is high strung for the better. I could not believe their consistent energy: bravo. The show demanded it, The Lady Demanded it. The players en masse ally-yooped each other precisely in comedy and stage fights. Again, bravo. Megan Schemmel as Aunt Theodosia inspired me with her ebullience. The way she poked her fellow actor in the butt by the sword brought tears to my eyes. I'm kidding, nurse, I don't cry. Schemmel was acrobatic as she was energetic. This benevolence poisoned the other actors with mad jubilance that translated into wired stage action. The sword fights where not realistic as the playbill claimed, but they were still impressive scenes.

Alongside the comedic successes came the inevitable farts. Many of the sins are written in the script. Some monologues such as Lord Abernathy's exposition came off as explicit. Looking back, Trothe was supposed to be not-the-brightest, but still I sensed that her lines became excessively flat towards the end. It wasn't the actor's fault. The worst thing I can say about the troupe was their choice in accents. The British schwa was battered, prominent, and the only note considered for some reason. The jolly farce could not sweep the honkiness under the rug; it was asinine after the first half hour. Thankfully, the German arrived and took the baton of gibberish. Amanda Forman has an inner gift for screaming German roles. She will go far. The troupe will go far. One could tell they were close when Osric... stuffed Trothe's handkerchief in his mouth. Her reciprocation of love was to... proceed to instantaneously do the same. I wasn't sure if this was a con, or an impressive pro. The camaraderie of actors is an asset at the City Lit Theater.

Babes with Blades chose a wonderful show to encourage the stories of women in the spotlight. Jolly's Aunt Theodosia is quirky without being recherché or alien. I couldn't see anyone but Ms. Schemmel playing her. The troupe gets props for top tier coordination and with that, the patient stands at a four star health rating.

Honestly, why did this story have so much untranslated German?

 Felipe Carrasco as Osric, Ari Kraiman as Tilly, Daenalís Resto as Trotte, Megan Schemmel as Aunt Theodosia, Kate Booth as Penelope, Amanda Forman as Luitger, and Linsey Falls as Lord Abernathy

Felipe Carrasco as Osric, Ari Kraiman as Tilly, Daenalís Resto as Trotte, Megan Schemmel as Aunt Theodosia, Kate Booth as Penelope, Amanda Forman as Luitger, and Linsey Falls as Lord Abernathy

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Dr. 2's diagnosis of patient Adoration of Dora by Lojo Simon

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Patient: Adoration of Dora

Legal Guardian: Playwright Lojo Simon

Insurance: Page Page Plus

Symptoms: WW2 blues, self-esteem issues, the French

Diagnosis: cracked lens

If you amuse him, you will be immortalized.
— Valentine

Patient Description:

The patient and I went to Paris, hopped the cafes, played phrase games and talked the snippy talk of our petite milieu. Then, Picasso was there, and paint happened. At first the patient was bold and welcoming, but the dialogue soon turned sour with explicitness. There was one gentleman who's purpose was to literally hold up a sign. Non. I was touched by the burgeoning artistic career of Picasso's famous muse, but the patient's language devolved into such intense profanity that the delicate story was not worth picking through the naughty words. An Rx will be prescribed for daily tongue washing.

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Dr. 2's diagnosis of patient The Talented Ones by Yussef El Guindi

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Patient: The Talented Ones

Legal Guardian: Playwright Yussef El Guindi

Insurance: Paperkutz

Symptoms: immigration assimilation, lying, cheating, bewbies, dancing bewbies

Diagnosis: drug overdose

That be-all-you-can-be lingo? That’s our bible now. None of that third world modesty.
— Omar

Patient Description:

“You[‘re] two ships that [have] passed in the night [and] have sunk. The flame of love has been effectively pissed on and is out.” Wow, guy. Nurse, it’s a case of the bad-one-liners. We'll need to go to surgery. Prepare the scalpel so I can remove the fat from the monologues; it's all lecture. There's some original advice through the characters, but for the most part, it's unnecessary. There was: strange; punctuation, that needs a round—two with the (grammar guide). The tone and style of the characters were too explicit…too explicit. We'll need a denouement suppository because the ending was false: the characters' behaviors were conventionally unbelievable.  Before you bring your cart, grab a lollipop. They've got a few nip tucks and poop plugs, but the immigration subplot was interesting and authentic. The patient is healthy despite today's need for operation. Give 'em a sticker, too. Please grab me a warm, wet towel; I can't handle another semicolon without two independent clauses.

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Dr. 2's diagnosis of patient Abstract Nude by Gwydion Suilebhan

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Patient: Abstract Nude

Legal Guardian: Playwright Gwydion Suilebhan

Insurance: Bookmarx Medical

Symptoms: masculine modesty, artistic ambitiousness, lewd-in-da-nude

Diagnosis: beeeewbies

A dead mouse in a baggie in the fridge wouldn’t be good enough for anybody.
— Tyler

Patient Description:

Good golly, this patient was naughty. I've never met one with onstage masturbation, but perhaps I'm too Christian. The characters are initially interesting, but the story starts to meander with the introduction of the second half. Dialogue prompts become increasingly telling until characters like Lola hold up plot guiding street signs. The chit chat quality climax needs an economical slice with the scalpel. The through line vapidly condemns poor taste, but does not in turn transcend the smut it wiggles its finger at.

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Dr. 2's diagnosis of patient Undo by Holly Arsenault

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Patient: Undo

Legal Guardian: Playwright Holly Arsenault

Insurance: Paperkutz

Symptoms: pessimistic plot, saccharine symbolism, miserable MC

Diagnosis: pre-crashed wedding

Isn’t it awful how something can make you feel like you’re on fire and then just turn into another old habit?
— Joan

Patient Description:

To the morgue with this one, Nurse. The patient was moribund with a wedding premise that could not be flatter. The dialogues were a string of familial relationship surmising that did not serve to create a plot. The exchange of language between characters was natural and flowing, but every soul on stage held the final wedding in such dreary contempt that it is a wonder why the audience should inversely feel the need to stay in their seats. Characters are explicit when the symbolism isn't. The blue wording was the most creative part of the piece. I can include almost no positive feedback as the patient's illness is terminal. The main character's irreverence occasionally glimmered with enough snark to make a few sentences from each scene memorable. Advice for patient reincarnation would include a defibrillator to the plot premise, comedic relief without naughty swear words, and an MC who wouldn't mind being a part of her own story.

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Dr. 2's diagnosis of patient Evidence of Things Unseen by Katie Forgette

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Patient: Evidence of Things Unseen

Legal Guardian: Playwright Katie Forgette

Insurance: Bookmarx Medical

Symptoms: delusional optimism, drunken melancholy, Christian sentiment

Diagnosis: woodpecking dissociation 

We’ll feed the missing ducks with our forgotten bread. How does that sound?
— Jack Caldwell

Patient Description:

At first, I thought the patient was in an immediately critical condition! It is not wise to build friction against an antagonist with oopsie daisy upon oopsie daisy. Accidents are accidents. However, the legal guardian's clever writing helped net my doubts and illuminate the sober, tragic purpose, thus inverting my negative perspective. The one liners were fantastic; the characters provided emotional contrast without rigid dichotomy. I would gladly raise this piece's health rating to five stars, but language is still to be mended with the Rx. Stage context is frivolously specific. Would the audience notice if the actor did not speak in a "slight 19th century courtliness"? The major deterrent, however, is the MC's occasional girlishness. For all the professional dialogue and intelligent characters behind her, she drops the ball at crucial moments more than once to be forgivable.

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Dr. 2's diagnosis of patient Purple Cloud by Jessica Huang

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Patient: Purple Cloud

Legal Guardian: Playwright Jessica Huang

Insurance: PagePay Plus

Symptoms: silent seniors, war trauma, Chinese chicken

Diagnosis: assimilation anxiety 

Orville Wilbur, Son of Lee. Always follows the rules. Believes in handshakes, Reganomics and the nightly news.
— Tortoise

Patient Description:

The patient greeted me with a "Once upon a time." They shook my hand and "Once upon a time" was all over my gloves. It was a forgivable cliche, and past that the patient seemed healthy. We talked of Chinese patriarchal legacy which made for a great through line. However, their form puts the content at a direct risk. Transitions were too contrasting. Jumping from living room to game show was too large a sideshow. The symbolism was barking at me. I felt fear, nurse. The late parts of the story left me with an anomaly conclusion that things were boiling along; yet, somehow, I felt like the script could have been 20 pages longer.

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