Chicago Theatre Review
The Wild West in The Middle East
By Olivia Lilley
The native, the foreigner, and the land that’s rightfully nobody’s is a conflict as old as history itself. Having lived all over the world as a child and having been an adult during the W. Bush years, J. T. Rogers feels like he has something new to say about it. In “Blood and Gifts”, he makes the argument the actions of one American FBI agent in the early 80’s made “The War in Afghanistan” inevitable. Every decision the FBI agent makes is grounded in the American view of the global community and their role in it. The ideal American risks everything for justice. The ideal American sees the world as black and white. The ideal American is a cowboy: we are strong, everyone else is weak. However, when this American tries to do business with a Khan, promises get lost
in translation. The game of Cowboys and Indians finds its modern equivalent.
TimeLine succeeded in translating the cinematic idea of a thriller to the stage. At the heart of this piece, like in films such as “The Bourne Identity” and “Memento”, what keeps us watching is the question, “Who can we trust?” All of the design elements supported this: the way the projections flew and appeared, the stark lighting, the set that kept on going out into the lobby becoming all of these slightly different offices covered in information, the scaffolding that was constantly shape shifting. The acting, on the whole, was a little too big and showy for my taste. There was a potential for intimacy here; however, the acting generally did it’s job. They told the story in a clear way.
“Blood and Gifts” is a play with a bold point of view that needs to be experienced.
TimeLine Theatre presents’
“Blood and Gifts” by J. T. Rodgers
Directed by Nick Bowling
Performances May 9th, 2013 – July 28th, 2013 @
615 W. Wellington Ave.
Chicago, IL, 60657