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Chicago’s Writers Theatre, America’s foremost regional drama company, which webcast a solo reading of “A Christmas Carol” in December, is now presenting its first full-scale streamed play, a far more ambitious undertaking whose exceptional technical finish raises the bar of quality yet another notch for theatrical webcasts by top-tier troupes.
Anna Ziegler’s “The Last Match,” a four-hander about two tennis pros, one American and the other Russian, who are competing in the U.S. Open semifinals, has been taken up all over America since its premiere production by San Diego’s Old Globe in 2016. It’s not hard to see why it’s been so successful: Not only is Ms. Ziegler’s subject matter inherently accessible, but the play calls for only a small cast and the most basic of sets (William Boles’s set for this production consists of a near-abstract tennis court and scoreboard). More important, “The Last Match,” staged by Keira Fromm, a Chicago-based director whose work is new to me, is a highly engaging play that infuses its staple themes, ambition and the coming of middle age, with a deeply satisfying freshness of approach. For all the seeming predictability of Ms. Ziegler’s plot, you’ll be drawn into the action so fully that you may not even notice how striking the production is….
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A scene from The Last Match: