A white man sits left and a Black mans sits right in a cabin setting
Peter Kattner III and Rejinal Simon in David Alex's ENDS Credit: Sallie Anne Young

The Chicago premiere of David Alex’s sociopolitical drama ENDS, directed by Davette J. Franklin, follows two men who represent conflicting visions of life in America. Set in 1967, the story begins with Kingsley (Rejinal Simon), a 30-year-old Black man who has spent the past 18 years living in a remote forest cabin as a response to the racial violence his family experienced during his childhood. His only companions are the words of great Black thinkers who offer him solace and conviction. Soon, his isolation is disturbed when weary traveler and newly returned Vietnam veteran Glober (Peter Kattner III) seeks refuge in his home to take shelter from a vicious storm. 

Through 7/31: Thu-Sat 7:30 PM, Sun 4 PM (understudy performance Sat 7/23), Dreamers YOLO, 5419 N. Lincoln, davjasentertainment.com, $25 (student/industry $15)

Although Glober initially enters the home against Kingsley’s will, they come to understand one another’s opposing experiences. Kingsley has rejected his identity as an American while Glober has just willingly put his life on the line for it. The tension surrounding whether the men will eventually adapt to the other’s way of living—extreme isolation or faithful connection—moves the story forward. 

The Chicago premiere’s intimate setting invites the audience to put themselves in each man’s shoes and deeply consider the people, experiences, and philosophies that comprise his point of view. Although the show raises questions about life in 1960s America, its themes of what it means to be patriotic in the face of violence and turmoil are ever relevant.