REVIEWSREVIEWS BYTheatre ReviewsTom Williams


By Walt McGoughchalk-vg-web-600x247

Directed by Megan A. Smith

Produced by Sideshow Theatre Company

At Victory Gardens Richard Christiansen Theater

End of the world sci-fi fable features two determined woman struggling to reconnect

Playwright Walt McGough’s Chalk arrives in Chicago after a two -city (Boston) rolling world premiere. Set in a barn at the end of the world (set design by Megan Truscott), Chalk finds Kathleen Akerley trying to fix a broken radio as she sits in a large circle space defined by a thick whit chalk outline. Her possessions including a few pillows, jugs of water and assorted items. She is a middle aged lady. She seems content until another younger woman bursts into the barn. This hyper person speaks near-incoherently, jumps about like a cat as she uses super strength to easily rip open cans of food with her hands. She babbles on speaking in a stream-of-consciousness toward the older woman who ignores the hyper one.


Maggie (Kathleen Akerley) does know the younger Cora (Nina O’Keefe) despite ignoring her. We see that something has taken over Cora as her animal-like behavior seems to have made her act strangely. We also see how when Cora comes close to the white chalk circle, she seems to be repelled, almost like being electrically shocked. We also see that the chalk is Maggie’s defense from Cora. We learn that all the people seem to be dead as something has taken over and killed all humans with Maggie somehow projected by the chalk circle. (Ha?)


Maggie is patient as she waits for the monster who has taken over Cora to leave. Yet, somehow, Cora emerges or reappears to Maggie. Is that a trick for the monster to lure Maggie out of the chalk circle? This 65 minute intense one-act becomes a battle of wills and spirits as Maggie can’t reconcile if Cora still exists or is only a means for the monster to triumph. This battle for the soul and spirits of humanity is a suspenseful struggle magnificently performed by two dedicated and fearless actors.

Is the possession a monster or a metaphor for the human daemons we all possess? This sci-fi fable deals with the power of motherhood and the human spirit. Our internal possessions can overcome our external ones with the power of a loving mother. Chalk is a worthy theatrical experience deftly performed by Akerley and O’keefe.


Tom Williams

Talk Theatre in Chicago podcast

Date Reviewed: May 28, 2015

For more info checkout the Chalk page at

At Victory Gardens Richard Christiansen Theater, 2433 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago, IL,  call 773-871-3000, tickets $20 – $30, Thursdays thru Saturdays at 7:30pm, Sundays at 3 pm, running time is 65 minutes without an intermission, through June 28, 2015