It’s the start of a new year at any given public high school U.S.A. The teachers are putting the final touches on their “welcome class” speeches and the floors are getting one last sweep before the rush of students come in and scuff them up. There’s that smell of hope in the air that comes at the beginning of the back-to-school season. That hope generally doesn’t anticipate what hole in the wall of the school will go unfixed for another year, who’s family member will die due to unforeseen circumstances or who will have to choose between babysitting a sibling and taking part in an activity that’s been anticipated all year. Yet, these are all circumstances that many students and faculty of schools across the country face. These are all the challenges that Nilaja Sun tackles in her one-woman show “No Child.” The play kicks off Lookingglass Theatre’s twentieth-anniversary season after running for over a year to sold-out audiences in New York. Sun portrays the struggles and triumphs of a tenth-grade inner-city class and, in the process, she transforms herself into sixteen different characters (male and female) in body and voice. Sun enraptures her audience and takes them on a journey that is memorable long after the theater lights go down. This show truly encapsulates what it’s like to be a part of today’s public educational system, an absolute must-see. (Mary Kroeck)
At Lookingglass Theatre, 821 N. Michigan, (312)337-0665. This production is now closed.