WALLFLY, Hostage Theater Company, at Voltaire. I hope Samuel Lamar Jordan knows he’ll be a great playwright someday, because right now I don’t think he’s convinced. In his new play WallFly, a rotating display of urban psychoses set in the bathroom at a drunken party, he takes myriad opportunities to piss away his own brilliance, slicing his potentially explosive drama into palatable vignettes. The superfluous title character, a stoner valley girl with all the insight of a cinder block, hides in the bathtub all evening. After watching one guest steal a magazine, two others make girl talk, and a fourth scream at her boyfriend, she marvels, “People really do this shit!” Duh.

It’s a shame Jordan has dumbed down his play, because his knack for creating complex moments of human turmoil is nearly unrivaled among Chicago playwrights. In one especially effective scene Allen, an alcoholic who’s spent the night convincing himself he will not drink, ends up cooing between swigs from a bottle of gin, “I don’t need this. I’ve got this totally under control.” Like most of the characters, Allen struggles through an all-too-human moment of contradictory truths; Jordan’s refusal to resolve that paradox is what makes such a moment resoundingly true. Now he needs to sustain that level of truth in a dramatic form worthy of his talent.

–Justin Hayford