News & Events

Performances of "The Death and Life of John Smith" begin Nov. 11


The Collective, the theater production company of Concordia University Chicago, in association with Chicago Dramatists, presents “The Death and Life of John Smith” by Will Dunne. The play, directed by Rachel Edwards Harvith, will run Nov. 11, 12, 18 and 19 at 7:30 p.m., and Nov. 13 and 20 at 2 p.m. at the Madison Street Theatre, 1010 Madison St., Oak Park, IL.

As the play opens, John Smith lies barefoot in a strange room. He doesn’t know where he is or how he got there. A woman informs him that he is in Hell—but John is a devout Christian. Has he ended up in Hell by mistake? Or, after living a life of virtue and self-sacrifice, did he do something just before his death to earn eternal damnation? This absurd comedy follows John Smith’s journey of self-discovery in the most unlikely of places.

Will Dunne, resident playwright at Chicago Dramatists, is an O’Neill playwright and dramaturg who has taught more than 2,000 dramatic writing workshops since 1988. His plays have received an array of awards and honors, and have been presented in Europe, Russia, Australia and across the U.S.

Director Rachel Edwards Harvith is a Chicago-area freelance theater director and former Associate Artistic Director of Chicago Dramatists. She has a passion for new play development, which began when working in the literary offices of Syracuse Stage and Long Wharf Theatre. Lighting director Jeff Glass is currently the lighting supervisor at Chicago Shakespeare Theater, and previously served as master electrician at Lookingglass Theatre Company.

Chicago Dramatists is an Equity Theatre in Chicago that nurtures playwrights, develops new plays, and enriches the national theatre repertory. Every year, plays developed at Chicago Dramatists earn hundreds of professional accomplishments, including productions, awards, commissions and readings in Chicago and worldwide.

General admission tickets to “The Death and Life of John Smith” are $15, with discounts available for seniors, students and CUC alumni. Purchase tickets online at, or by cash or check at the door before show time.