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Both the internet and meth are fair game for Chicago plays

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Goodman Theatre closes its 2013-14 Owen Theatre season with Ask Aunt Susan on June 22 as About Face Theatre gets ready to launch its 2014-15 season with the Chicago premiere of Methtacular! later this summer.

Ask Aunt Susan is a kind of satire of the early internet startups, where cultish celebrity self-help meets good old-fashioned American greed,” says Playwright-in-Residence Seth Bockley who wrote the piece in 2010, and workshopped it during the New Stages Festival in 2011 and 2012.

“I am an enormous fan of Seth’s work—his remarkable talent and vision as a playwright and director is why we selected him as a Playwright-in-Residence,” explains Artistic Director Robert Falls. “We are thrilled to present this play as Seth’s Goodman debut, and hope for many more collaborations in the future.”

“Seth’s fascinating play offers a sharp and very funny critique of American life today, our current internet and media culture, the role faith plays in an increasingly cynical world, and one man's struggle to live up to his own ideals,” adds Director Henry Wishcamper. “Seth has created a vivid world presenting us with opportunities to play visually with both digital technologies and film noir sensibilities.”

The social media piece about some unsociable characters is a loose update of Nathanael West’s 1933 novella Miss Lonelyhearts. Under the direction of Henry Wishcamper, the 90-minute production features Alex Stage, Marc Grapey, Meghan Reardon, Robyn Scott, and Jennie Moreau. For tickets ($10-$40), visit GoodmanTheatre.org/AuntSusan, call 312-443-3800, or visit the box office on 170 N. Dearborn Street.

In association with Justin Brill, About Face Theatre presents Methtacular! from August 21 to September 28 at Theater Wit on 1229 W. Belmont Avenue. Written and performed by Steven Stafford, Methtacular! candidly and comically conveys his experiences in the crystal meth scene.

“After playing to sold-out crowds and rave reviews in New York, Cincinnati and Portland, this unique piece of theatre is finally coming home to Chicago where it was born and bred,” says AFT Artistic Director Andrew Volkoff.

“Crystal meth addiction has been a serious national problem for years in the gay community, and especially here in the Midwest. A talented artist and brilliant storyteller, Steven shines a light on addiction that is at once funny and thought provoking, turning his journey down the rabbit hole into a compelling and comedic evening. Virtuosic and soulbaringly honest, Methtacular! is a play that audiences won't soon forget.”

Tickets ($10-$35) go on sale on July 1 at www.aboufacetheatre.com.

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