Directed by Steve Scott
Produced by Moving Stories Theatre
At Oracle Theatre
Intriguing look at Eastern European theatre
Set in 1990 in Belgrade, Serbia, The Professional by Dusan Kovacevic is an allegory puzzle play, a fable really, about a now powerful writer/editor and former political dissident intellectual from the Communist regime of Tito. Teya (Paul D’ Addario), on his 45th birthday, is visited by Luke (Joe Mack) a taxi driver and former detective for the Tito Era government who has made a career of following and documenting Teya every move for the last 40 years.
Luke presents Teya with several volumes of writings, speeches, lectures and poetry he has copied and transcribed from Teya’s actions through the years. Luke alsohas a suitcase full of hats, toys and personal mementos he collected while following Teya through the years. We learn much about how intensively totalitarian regimes cover dissidents. Luke is so thorough in his investigation and documenting that slowly he starts questioning his beliefs as Teya’s ant-communist arguments start to win over Luke who eventually admires Teya as he starts to protect his subject.
The 60 minute play involves revelatory exchanges between Teya and Luke that forces Teya to examine his life and his failures as a writer. This unique memory play dissects how we can experience a sort of willed amnesia to thwart bad memories and personal failures. Teya’s real legacy is threatened by Luke’s meticulous documentation of his life and his words.
This sparring match between Teya and Luke features a clever game of one-upmanship that reveals that maybe Teya wasn’t the courageous writer after all. Paul D’Addario and Joe Mack shine in this production. Does Luke turn the tables on Teya with Taya’s own words? See this intelligent show and decide for yourself. This important play still resonates in Belgrade. It is a fine example of Eastern European playwright.
At Oracle Theatre, 3809 N. Broadway, Chicago, IL