If you thought all the hauntings and gore of Halloween ended on October 31, think again. A-Squared Theater Workshop and dueEast Theatre Company collaborate to bring Qui Nquyen’s historically based play to Chicago for its Midwest premiere. Steven Nguyen gives an exceptionally strong performance as Hung, a 17-year-old boy who is sent on what is supposed to be a weeklong voyage from Vietnam to America with his 15-year-old brother, Huy (Gian Truong). As Hung struggles to save his brother as well as himself after the boat’s engine breaks and they drift out to sea, he is forced to confront his belief in the good in humanity as fellow voyagers turn to cannibalism for survival. In spite of its grim and utterly tragic base storyline, “Trial by Water” is a beautifully written script and is cleverly acted with moments that are just as heartwarming as heartbreaking. The small space of EP Theater suites the play well as it brings the audience painfully close to the horrific action taking place on stage as well as drags them into Hung’s joyful memories before he began his voyage from hell. (Mary Kroeck)
At EP Theater, 1820 S. Halsted Street, (773)353-5979. This production is now closed.