Chicago journalist John Conroy first exposed the torture and police brutality taking place in the bowels of Chicago area police stations in the pages of the Chicago Reader. Now, Conroy’s first theater piece, My Kind of Town, which is based on the torture scandal, is playing at Timeline Theatre in East Lakeview.
The play’s first preview took place last night, and I went with a friend. We both took a human rights class on the police torture cases last quarter and were fortunate to hear Conroy speak about his writing and upcoming play.
In a 2010 New York Times article, Conroy said that when he wrote the play, he “wanted to indict the whole city of Chicago [and] to get at the public indifference, to go up the ladder and look at not only the cops who chose to torture but also at families and society that seemed to accept that some criminals constituted a tortureable class of people.”
In My Kind of Town, Conroy does just that. He has managed to convey the horror of what happened and to show how it came to be. He also demonstrates the complicity of players across the judicial system and the damning acquiescence of ordinary Chicagoans. None of the characters were easily categorized or static, from the condemned man and his family members to the police torturer and his friends and relatives, which made the play all the more compelling.
If you’re interested in seeing My Kind of Town (you should!), the play’s official opening is next week and it will run until July 29th, 2012. You can find an in-depth Chicago Reader article on the making of the play here and a Chicago Magazine interview with John Conroy here.