Theatre ReviewsTom Williams

The Rant

By Andrew Casethe rant by andrew case

Directed by Sharon Evans

Produced by Mary-Arrchie Theatre

At Angel Island

The Rant is an urban drama about racial bias and the relativity of the truth

Mary-Arrchie Theatre, a bravely theatre troupe that finds in-your-face powerful plays to produce–has another strong, thought provoking drama with their Midwest Premiere of Andrew Case’s The Rant.

the rant by andrew case

The Rant is a 90 minute police drama written by an eight year investigator from New York City’s Civilian Complaint Review Board. While this story is fiction, it is based on events that surly could have happened. This play brought me back to my eight years as a Chicago Police Officer in the 1970’s.

The Rant deals with how difficult it is for an investigator to find the truth of about a police involved shooting of a Black teen. When a Black autistic boy is shot three times by a white police sergeant, Lisa Mahnaz (Lindsey Pearlman), an ultra-liberal police-hating lawyer turned NYC Complaint Investigator, aggressively investigates determined to find that the 26 year veteran police sergeant who admits being the shooter did indeed use excessive force. But her investigation casts doubt because she discovers everyone she interviews is lying-sometimes subconsciously as their personal views often color their perception of events.

the rant by andrew case

Case’s play contains a series of monologues before or after play scenes that serve to introduce us to each character as each tries to both justify their action concerning the incident. Mahnaz’s statement from the boy’s mother, Denise Reeves (Shariba Rivers) convinces her (and us) that her boy was shot by the sergeant for no valid reason. Mahnaz meets a newspaper reporter more interested in a “good story” with whom she exchanges information about her investigation in and effort to gain assistance for her cause (to charge the officer with misconduct).

Each person’s bias comes rushing out through their statements. Racial, anti-police and sensational news reporting make the truth a sort of bias. Prejudice, hidden agendas, deceit as well as anonymous threats against Investigator Mahnaz filled this fast-paced drama with questions and suspense as we try to sort out the facts.

The realism of  this riveting, well acted urban tragedy, aptly demonstrates the shades of gray that taints the truth. Contradictory statements  including cops hiding behind the “blue wall of silence” as well as racial bias by all contaminates the truth leaving us to wonder what really happened?  Mahnaz uncovers what she believes is the truth but Stern (Earl Pastko) the reporter debunks her theory and points out that now that other events have rendered the case as closed both in the press and in society.

The Rant is both a mystery and a cautionary tale about the relativity of the truth in emotionally charged racial incidents concerning the police. This is a thought provoking show that will get you debating the facts presented since playwright Case leaves doubt. Plot twist shade the ending.

Emanueal Buckly as Officer Simmons was particularly effective in a cast of outstanding character actors. The Rant is weighty and an honest commentary on the contemporary society’s state of racial relations.


Tom Williams

At Angel Island, 735 W. Sheridan, Chicago, IL, call 773-871-0442, tickets $18 -$20 -$22, Thursdays thru Saturdays at 8 pm, Sundays at 7pm, running time is 100 minutes without intermission, through March 28, 2010

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