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Frat at the New Colony | Theater review

Evan Linder’s affectionate, warts-and-all depiction of fraternity life feels thoroughly authentic in the New Colony’s remount.

Photograph: Anne Petersen
2011 remount of The New Colony's FRAT

The New Colony’s remount of Evan Linder’s swift and savvy 2009 comedy moves the party from a museum gallery to a more fitting spot at the Apartment, a vibrant Lincoln Park nightclub. Paired with the young company’s enthusiastic cast and director Andrew Hobgood’s engaging promenade staging, the venue upgrade deepens the already strong sense of authenticity in this portrayal of undergraduate life surrounding a fictional fraternity.

Linder borrows from his own experience rushing at South Carolina’s College of Charleston; his piece resides somewhere between a touching homage to his Greek roots and an unabashed satire of them. Beyond inflated ideas of postgrad opportunities (which, as is hilariously said with complete conviction, will quadruple because of three letters on a T-shirt), it’s a mystery what exactly the Theta Pi Psi pledges expect to get out of their initiation that makes the otherwise sensible young adults willing to desperately slurp down shots of hot sauce, or weep like children at the news of rejection.

But that’s Linder’s point: The collective belief that something is significant makes it significant. Frat makes no further judgments about Greek life’s value or lack thereof, except to suggest that, like this production, it’s at the very least a hell of a good time.

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