Mission Impossible Accomplished
Silk Road stages a play with two difficult quests
10/11/2010 1:45 AM
Malik Gillani and Jamil Khoury, executive director and artistic director, respectively, of the Silk Road Theater Project, have an office at Polk and Federal; and they live at Monroe and State--so I consider them full-fledged South Loopers.
South Loopers in spite of the fact that they produce plays on the other side of Madison Street in a theater built out for them in the ground level of the Chicago Temple at Washington and Clark, a half block north of what I call ďGrid-zero.Ē
The plays put on by Silk Road always connect to the Silk Road in some fashion. And I have been to them all.
I saw their latest production on Saturday night--a play called ďScorchedĒ by Lebanese playwright Wajdi Mouawad, who lives in Quebec. I was a little daunted when I saw a sign at the box office stating that the play would run two hours and 45 minutes. But I wasnít bored for a minute. This play has narrative drive. Itís perfectly cast, wonderfully set and mysterious until the end when everything falls into place.
So hereís the premise: a mother of 22-year-old twins (a boy and a girl) dies in 2002, and her boyfriend in Quebec is the executor of her estate. He wants to make sure that everything is done right. He knows the kids couldnít stand their mother, and he knows why (she was a difficult person) but he really cares that everything is done according to her wishes. Itís clear he isnít going to let the kids ignore the way she wants to be buried--even thought it's pretty quirky.
He also insists that the kids fulfill their motherís last requests--even though itís inconvenient, and seems like a wild goose chase. Sheís left them all her money--but her son, especially, feels that his mom has figured out a way to persist in being a difficult jerk from her grave.
The children are given sealed letters and are told to give the envelopes to their father--who they always thought was dead--and to their brother--who they never knew existed. They are perplexed and enraged. But they do travel from their home in Canada to an unnamed country in the middle east to carry out their missions.
For more than two hours we see the twins take on their quests, while their motherís harrowing life story unfolds in flashbacks swirling in the background. Itís an effective way to tell a powerful story.
I can tell you this: they do fulfill their missions. But I wonít spoil the incredibly explosive ending. There arenít many mysteries with this much dynamite in the climax. And I guarantee you wonít see this blast coming.