Chicago Theater Review: REALLY REALLY (Interrobang Theatre Project at The Athenaeum Theatre)

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by Barnaby Hughes on February 16, 2015

in Theater-Chicago


29-year old playwright Paul Downs Colaizzo’s Really Really premiered at Virginia’s Signature Theatre in 2012 before heading to Off-Broadway, where it was helmed by Chicago’s own David Cromer. Colaizzo’s first play generated controversy and buzz; now it’s getting a Midwest debut during Interrobang Theatre Project’s fifth season.

Really Really 6

Centering on a group of students at an unnamed Ivy League university, this ripped-from-the-headlines drama stares unflinchingly at the politics of sex, friendship, and getting ahead. While Colaizzo recklessly flirts with countless clichés (really?) and the usual tired tropes (really?), he ultimately delivers a disturbing and provocative ending that is unpredictably ambiguous and yet strangely satisfying.

Really Really 4

No one really seems to know, remember, or be willing to talk about what happened at Cooper’s “Tunnel of Love” party, where phones and cameras were prohibited. Leigh tells her boyfriend Jimmy that Davis raped her and that she miscarried their baby. Davis doesn’t really remember because he was so drunk. Fortunately, Really Really isn’t really a play about campus rape or, at least, not just a play about campus rape. What it’s really about is whose story do you believe and why? And what do you stand to lose or gain by taking sides?

Really Really 2

Kristen Magee’s incredibly brave performance as the social climbing Leigh is largely what makes Really Really believable. In contrast to the rather one-dimensional supporting characters, such as Tommy Beardmore’s unconvincing Jimmy or Maurice Demus’ studious Johnson, Magee takes her complex character to some frighteningly dark places without holding anything back. As Cooper and Davis, respectively, Michael Holding and Ben TeBockhorst expose the violence and hypocrisy that pervade not just our college campuses, but our society as a whole.

Really Really 8

Director James Yost and team get so many of the details right in this play, but one fairly major problem is Jeff Kmiec’s unchanging set that serves as both Leigh’s apartment and Cooper’s. We know that the empty PBR cans are evidence of the party from the previous night, but why do they have to remain there even when the scene has changed to the girls’ apartment? Otherwise, this is an impressive production of a timely and compelling play.

Really Really 1

photos by Emily Schwartz

Really Really 7Really Really
Interrobang Theatre Project
The Athenaeum Theatre, 2936 N. Southport
Thurs – Sat at 7:30;
Sat at 2 (with exceptions); Sun at 2
scheduled to end on March 15, 2015
for tickets, call (773) 935-6875
or visit
for more info,

[Stage and Cinema review
of Really Really Off-Broadway

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