Feature

Theater: Trust

In David Schwimmer and Andy Bellin's new play, a 14-year-old teenaged girl is lured into meeting an older man who masquerades online as a 16-year-old.

Lookingglass Theatre Chicago(312) 337-0665

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“There is little in the way of safe artistic remove in David Schwimmer and Andy Bellin’s relentlessly gut-wrenching new theater piece,” said Chris Jones in the Chicago Tribune. Indeed, the play has a jarring authenticity that will be familiar to anyone raising children in the digital age. Trust concerns 14-year-old Annie, who “falls prey to an insidious Internet creep” masquerading online as a 16-year-old named Charlie. “Any number of parental nightmares” are played out—one of the most potent being that the predator, though he eventually reveals himself to Annie to be a much older man, still succeeds in luring her into a motel room. The scenes that actually “disturb the most,” however, portray Annie’s well-meaning parents and their belated realization that “just because they’re open and approachable doesn’t mean their daughter necessarily wants to confide in them.”

Trust’s subject matter treads perilously close to the clichéd world of television drama, said Hedy Weiss in the Chicago Sun-Times. But the play distinguishes itself as something more sophisticated, mostly due to the “stage-burning” performance of actress Allison Torem as Annie. Only five years older than the character she’s playing, the 19-year-old gives a performance that’s “raw and blisteringly honest at every turn.” Philip R. Smith and Amy Carle make Annie’s advertising-executive father and real estate agent mom more than stock characters, while writers Bellin and Schwimmer capture “the complexity of Annie’s responses to events, and the varying reactions of her family.” Trust’s understated verisimilitude, more than anything else, makes it a compelling study of what happens when the “‘virtual’ becomes all too real.”

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