World Premiere

April 25 – July 1, 2018

“Everything in the world, that all just rushing right past you, like you a signpost stuck straight in the ground.”

Inspired by true events, this compelling new play exposes a flawed law enforcement operation that walks the line between good intentions and deceit, testing the bonds of a family and community. In a low-income, residential neighborhood of Milwaukee, Terry Kilbourn has just begun a new job passing out flyers for a discount warehouse. When his bosses start asking more of him, the stakes rise quickly and his loved ones begin to question what is really going on. This play’s vibrant mix of family, romance, and danger swirls with mysteries about who to trust and what to believe. And its story confronts society’s fluid definition of justice—and the truth about who benefits from it.

This world premiere is the first play to be produced that was written and developed through TimeLine’s Playwrights Collective, launched in 2013 to support Chicago-based playwrights in residence and create new work centered on TimeLine’s mission.

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Production Team


* Member of Actors Equity Association

# Member of United Scenic Artists

~ Member of Stage Directors and Choreographers Society

+ TimeLine Company Member

^ TimeLine Associate Artist

§ TimeLine Playwrights Collective


  • Chicago Tribune

    May 10, 2018

    ★★★½. “A gripping dissection of a personally catastrophic, real-life event that happened just 90 minutes up the freeway from here. And it contains a superb performance from Geno Walker … This is one of the best performances of the season. … It feels like all of these artists are going to some tough places.”

    —Chris Jones

  • Chicago Sun-Times

    May 13, 2018

    ★★★½. “Haunting, gripping … expertly directed by Ron OJ Parson … [AJ McGhee’s] Dontre has only one scene with Ike and Dex, and it’s a masterclass in subtext and razor-wire tension strung so tight you can practically hear it snapping.

    —Catey Sullivan

  • Chicago Reader

    May 10, 2018

    “TimeLine Theatre has a long history of successfully transforming seemingly unstageable stories of bureaucracy and institutional malfeasance into ground-level human dramas.”

    —Dan Jakes

  • Stage and Cinema

    May 4, 2018

    “Neveu’s compassionate To Catch a Fish is a rich revelation in Ron OJ Parson’s all-feeling staging. The work itself is an invaluable anomaly: Unlike most news stories, it’s more interested in the sufferers of a scam than the reasons for wrongdoing. … Neveu has a full grasp of what’s at stake in his story and, even better, a warm respect for the real folks caught in the crossfire.”

    —Lawrence Bommer

  • PerformInk

    May 7, 2018

    CRITICS’ PICK. “Director Ron OJ Parson brings this troubling story together flawlessly … To Catch a Fish is timely, shedding light on the blatant disregard for human rights that is becoming a repetitive occurrence, especially within the Black community. This play delivers a fresh perspective, reminding us that liberty and justice are not for all.

    —Naima Dawson

  • TheaterMania

    May 8, 2018

    “A moving character study about a family in over their heads … the actors give achingly sympathetic performances that speak volumes. … Their lifetimes of history make for an emotional tug-of-war that is potent even when bubbling beneath the surface … To Catch a Fish is a tender study of people trying to do what they can to understand and protect the people they love.

    —Adelaide Lee

  • The Fourth Walsh

    May 4, 2018

    “[Brett] Neveu pens well-developed characters with palpable back stories and complicated relationships. Director Ron OJ Parson skillfully navigates his talented ensemble. Their portrayals are authentic. Their banter feels spontaneous and unscripted. This is how real people talk, stumble through conversations and endure a regrettable life. Neveu unravels his story with knots and unfinished honesty. I enjoyed TO CATCH A FISH immensely. Neveu provided the bait. Parsons hooked me. And the talented ensemble reeled me in.

    —Katy Walsh

  • Rescripted

    May 9, 2018

    “[This] is a production that captures specificity of both character and place. … To Catch a Fish is an engrossing portrait of a beautiful, vulnerable man that calls out the destructive practice of the sting operation, too often glamorized or satirized in popular culture.

    —Hallie Palladino

  • Picture This Post

    May 4, 2018

    RECOMMENDED. “It is the interpersonal stories in this script that make it engaging … Superb performances make these characters alive and worth your time to get to know them.”

    —Amy Munice

  • Around the Town Chicago

    May 4, 2018

    HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. “The story is filled with mystery, romance, relationships, family, friends, and how each has an effect on the other. … As this is a TimeLine production, you know you will have something to discuss on the way home, or even the next day.”

    —Alan Bresloff

  • Chicago On Stage

    May 3, 2018

    “The play, briskly paced under the direction of Ron OJ Parson, features some very strong acting and enough powerful moments for any play.”

    —Karen Topham

  • Ada Grey Reviews for You

    May 15, 2018

    People who would like this show are people who like peaceful fishing, stern and lovable grandmas, and suspicious stores. I think that this is such an intriguing, well-performed, and visually, aurally, and emotionally stunning show. I really enjoyed it.”

    —Ada Grey

  • WGN Radio

    May 3, 2018

    “The performances are intimate, right on and powerful … This is an important production for all to see … It will surely ignite significant conversation of the not-so-perfect world we live in.”

    —Paul Lisnek

  • Newcity Stage

    May 21, 2018

    “An important story to tell and a vital dialogue to engage in … therein lies the strength of To Catch a Fish: if the goal of this play is to get more people interested, involved, and informed about the events of ‘Operation Fearless’ then it succeeded”

    —Emma Couling

  • Let's Play

    June 9, 2018

    ★★★★, HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. “Director Ron OJ Parson once again delivers with fantastic staging in small places with To Catch a Fish. … A riveting, explosive play of actual life events. … [it] delivers a fresh perspective, reminding us that liberty and justice are NOT for all.”

    —Rick and Brenda McCain


  • Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

    May 15, 2018

    Read this feature from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel about the real-life Milwaukee events that inspired Brett Neveu to write To Catch a Fish, highlighting the work of Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reporters Raquel Rutledge and John Diedrich in breaking the story, and how the cast and creative team explored the area to research the play.

    —Jim Higgins

    Read the full feature

  • Footlights

    May 3, 2018

    Footlights’ Amanda Finn interviews To Catch a Fish playwright Brett Neveu about the play’s inspiration, its real world connections, and the winding road from pen to stage.

    —Amanda Finn

    Read the full feature

  • WGN Radio

    May 16, 2018

    “A production and performances not to be missed and [in] one of the most intimate spaces in the city. … I encourage everybody to see it.”

    WGN host Paul Lisnek is joined by To Catch a Fish actors Geno Walker and Linda Bright Clay for a spirited conversation about this moving and complex world premiere (section starts at 31:34).

    Listen to the interview

  • Booth One

    May 14, 2018

    Tune in for a lively conversation with Gary Zabinski and Frank Tourangeau of Booth One, who sat down with To Catch a Fish playwright Brett Neveu to chat about moments both lighthearted and profound in the creation of this world premiere. (Section starts at 5:25)

    —Gary Zabinski and Frank Tourangeau

    Listen to the interview

Discussions & Events

  • TO CATCH A FISH: Company Member Discussion
    Sunday, May 20

    Join us for an informal chat with TimeLine’s Company Members after today’s performance.

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  • Open Captioned Performance of TO CATCH A FISH
    Saturday, June 2 at 4:00 pm

    Featuring a text display of words and sounds heard during the performance.

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  • TO CATCH A FISH: Sunday Scholars Series
    Sunday, June 10 from approximately 4-5pm

    This one-hour post-show panel discussion features experts on the themes of the play.

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  • TO CATCH A FISH: PRE-Show Discussion
    Various dates

    Join us for an informal sneak peek into TO CATCH A FISH with members of the production team.

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  • TO CATCH A FISH: Post-Show Discussion
    Various dates

    Join us for informal post-show discussions with members of the production team and cast.

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  • TO CATCH A FISH: Post-Show Discussion with Living History
    Wednesday, June 27

    Join us for a post-show discussion with students from our Living History Education Program.

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  • TO CATCH A FISH Closing Night
    July 1, 2018 at 2:00pm

    Closing night for the fourth and final production in TimeLine’s 2017-18 season.

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TimeLine’s world premiere of To Catch a Fish is supported in part by