Posted by: | Posted on: March 22, 2017

Court Theater presents
By Tom Stoppard
Directed by Charles Newell

March 9 – April 9, 2017

We have all wondered, how many stars are in the sky, is there life outside the universe or would the Chicago Cubs either win the World Series? I can happily answer yes to the last question.

There are so many unanswered questions that we may never know, but there are people around the world that seek to discover “The Hard Problem” and will make it their lifelong ambition to find these answers.

Court Theatre currently has a play called “The Hard Problem” that focus on this dilemma as they introduce to us Hilary, a young psychologist working at the prestigious Krohl Institute for Brain Science. She is an intelligent young lady with a bright future but there is a dark side within her which causes her to struggle with past burdens.

These problems drain against her freedom to concentration on her research and the regrets regarding past decisions seem to become a major issue that splits her between the joy and pains of life.

Like most of us, Hilary seems to cope with these dueling challenges by throwing herself into her work. As a psychologist, her company has hired her to come up with a solid, thoughtful, intelligence and comprehensive reason for the rationale of consciousness.

This and other questions are placed within the skillful mind of Hilary to justify, where does our biology end and our personhood begin? If there is nothing but matter, what is consciousness? Will the computer someday answer all questions psychology can ask? And why are you praying to a God if you believe in science?
Hilary finds herself in a quandary as she works with her colleagues trying to discover a balance between equilibrium and chaos. She continues to pray for a miracle to resolve her past and seek wisdom to forge into “The Hard Problem” that can propel Krohl Institute into scientific euphoria.

The Hard Problem is at the Court Theatre which I believe is one of the secret gems in the Hyde Park area. This place features so many award-winning and awesome plays that people around Chicagoland should be lining up to see. This current play is from the award-winning and renowned playwright Tom Stoppard. His prominence came from plays like Arcadia, The Coast of Utopia and co-wrote the screenplays for Brazil, the Russia House and Shakespeare in Love.

The Hard Problem is one of those plays where you have to absorb each word from the moment it starts to fully appreciate its witty humor and intellect. The continual narcissistic dialogue between the cast that features Chaon Cross as Hilary, Jurgen Hooper (Spike), Owais Ahmed (Amal), and Katy Fry, Emjoy Gavino, Celeste Cooper and Nathan Hosner as Jerry was delightfully entertaining. I became intrigued from the moment the lights dimmed which continued to increase each minute. The cast pulled off a great performance and made you believe they were truly the brilliant minds of the scientific world seeking to find those unanswered anonymities.

Seeing the wisdom of mankind seeking to solve “The Hard Problem” brought to mind a quote I wrote decades ago when I muttered, “The greatest stupidity of mankind is his intelligence.”

This play reminded me that the need to know the answer to everything causes us to miss that everything doesn’t need an answer. Good is good without an answer and bad can be bad even if we can’t comprehend why. It’s self-will versus the will to understand the very nature of our self. Did we really need to understand what consciousness is, or just be happy that we only need to use about 10% of that consciousness to survive; or do we and why?

This debate will continue long after my lifespan is over and we may never truly find its meaning but as long as we have people in the world like Hilary, the synopsis of this dilemma will continue.
I enjoyed “The Hard Problem” and would recommend it with a little form of caution. You need to be fully engaged or you will miss the message of love, faith and the ideological belief in the study of our past, present and future via the world of science.

The Hard Problem will be playing at The Court Theater, 5535 South Ellis Avenue located in the Hyde Park area until April 9th, 2017. For tickets, please call 773-753-4472 or go to

Written By Rick McCain

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