The press notes state: “What of the Night? is about sex, power, institutional failure, human frailty, betrayal, dreams, and madness. A  1989 Pulitzer Prize finalist, it follows an extended family whose lives are intertwined even as they try to escape the ties that bind them. When the just-married 14-year-old Birdie (Dionne Addai) leaves her impoverished home to seek a better life, she unwittingly sets in motion a sprawling epic told in intimate vignettes that span across time and geography. Rainbow (Kathryn Acosta) finds love. Charlie (Casey Morris) finds solace in loyalty. Ray (Nelson Rodriguez) finds the trappings of success. Though their yearnings are briefly rewarded, the lyrical story lays bare the difference between the hunger of the soul and the hunger of the ego.”

The four one-acts include “Nadine: 1938,” where the dysfunctional family is beset with cruelty and extreme poverty.

“Springtime: 1958.” is about a lesbian couple with one lover willing to dowhatever to help her sick partner survive.

“Lust: 1968-1983,” is about sex, perversion and hidden desires.

“Hunger:” a future after an economic disaster.

I had mixed response to this work. At nearly three hours, the work is a test for audiences as well as the disjointed action and the strange dialogue. Despite movingly dedicated performances by the cast of 13 and a dark atmosphere of raw sex and violence, What of the Night? will captive some, bore others while impressing others. This show is not for those who demand clarity or coherence. Poverty, man’s cruelty and sexual deviations together with avant garde motifs render this epic an ode to human survival. The craft and dedication of the actors and the “what will happen next” structure will keep audiences involved.

I believe this is a true “love it or hate it play” that is worthy of an audience. It is one of those important theatrical experiences that you may hate it after seeing it but you were glad that you saw it. What of the Night? left me worn out yet impressed. It demonstrates the power of unique storytelling live onstage. Serious theatre patrons will be impressed despite its flaws. It is a brave production.

Somewhat Recommended.

Tom Williams.

At Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont, Chicago, IL, for tickets, call 773.975.8150, $20 -$30,  visit Cor or Stage Left Thurs-Sat at 7:30; Sun at 3.

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The Spanish Square

1358 W Belmont Ave, Chicago, IL 60657, United States

Market & tapas bar hybrid offering Spanish bites, wine & high-end groceries in a modest space.

thespanishsquare.com

(773) 717-7900


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Fahlstrom's Fresh Fish Market

1258 W Belmont Ave, Chicago, IL 60657, United States

Laid-back place serving an all-day American menu with a focus on fish plus an on-site market.

fahlstromsfreshfish.com

(773) 281-6000


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Murphy's Red Hots

1211 W Belmont Ave, Chicago, IL 60657, United States

Longtime counter-service eatery with Chicago-style hot dogs plus burgers & sandwiches.

murphyshotdogs.com

(773) 935-2882


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Cooper's Restaurant

1232 W. Belmont Ave., chicago, IL

Neighborhood bar with modern American pub grub including BBQ & pizza plus a very long beer list.

cooperschicago.com

(773) 929-2667


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Theater Wit

1229 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago, IL