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Review: Phoenix Theatre's 'Jericho'

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Jack Canfora's play provides a witty commentary on life after 9/11.
  • Jack Canfora's play provides a witty commentary on life after 9/11.

Phoenix Theatre; dir. Bryan Fonseca; through Nov. 27.

At first glance, the expansive set in the Phoenix's Basile Theatre for Jericho would seem ambitious and overreaching, the skeletal remains of the twin towers rubble an unnecessary provocation. However, scenic designer Bernie Killian craftily handles the issue by adjusting sight lines as the play progresses, transforming the wreckage before our eyes.

The characters in the play, all "survivors" of 9/11 in one way or another, wander through each scene trapped in the emotional and psychological rubble of the towers. Yet, things are not what they seem; this is not just another play about September 11. Playwright Jack Canfora tackles issues of politics, grief, religion and forgiveness through the lens of a chance interaction between a man who made it out of the towers and woman whose husband did not. Ten years later, the thought of the tragedy stirs up a range of emotions, and Canfora's writing and the Phoenix's actors touch on them all, validating our individual experiences of that day

Director Bryan Fonseca bravely stages this two hour play without an intermission. Yet, the story was crafted so tightly, I was too engrossed to notice the lack of a half-time until the actors were bowing. Presented as part of a rolling world-premiere (this is the first Midwest production), do not miss Jericho.

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