World Premiere

Oct 12, 2012 - Dec 30, 2012

TimeLine’s latest world premiere follows extraordinary successes with new works like My Kind of Town, To Master the Artand Hannah and Martin. An American soldier, captured by the enemy in Vietnam and isolated in an underground cell, hears a voice from the other side of his prison wall. Thrust into each other’s lives, the two men are separated by solid ground, divergent backgrounds and opposite worldviews. But over time, they are drawn together as they battle dire conditions, loss of faith, and each other. This emotionally stirring new play affirms the extraordinary power of human connection to forge hope in even the darkest hours.


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

    October 21, 2012

    3 STARS. “A superbly directed production from William Brown that progressively pulls you deeper and deeper into its carefully honed subterranean landscape. … you come to see Wasteland, which is quite subtly written, as a kind of metaphor for political division … I was in the company of two very fine actors. [Nate] Burger, a vulnerable performer … offers the most obviously excellent piece of work. But [Steve] Haggard … is yet more impressive.”

    —Chris Jones

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  • Chicago Sun-Times

    October 21, 2012

    RECOMMENDED. “The play is true and finely observed. … Burger’s work is fully believable and compelling, with beautiful small moments of truth … completely heartbreaking.”

    —Hedy Weiss

  • Time Out Chicago

    October 23, 2012

    4 STARS. “Altogether, it’s a harrowing and heartbreaking work, made even more affecting by Burger and Haggard’s beautifully authentic performances.

    —Zac Thompson

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  • NewCity

    October 21, 2012

    RECOMMENDED. “It’s always exciting to see a fresh play by a local author. Even more so when that play is executed as finely as TimeLine’s production of Susan Felder’s Wasteland … Director William Brown’s bold vision for this show would be an honor for any playwright’s work. TimeLine is taking a big risk with this new work … If only more small theaters would be as adventurous.

    —John J. Accrocco

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  • WBEZ Onstage/Backstage

    November 1, 2012

    “William Brown’s unsentimental direction makes the world premiere of Susan Felder’s two-man play … a relentlessly intense experience, turning those black POW-MIA flag from an abstraction into flesh-and-blood reality. … A truly extraordinary experience.

    —Kelly Kleiman and Jonathan Abarbanel

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  • Chicago Theater Beat

    October 24, 2012

    3 1/2 STARS. “Susan Felder’s Wasteland is at once grim, gripping and problematic, a 100-minute rabbit hole that sucks the audience down into its troubled world within its opening moments. … director William Brown weaves a taut, intense and compelling drama with his two person cast, creating a world that’s as unforgettable as it is inescapable. … Wasteland overall is an actor’s showcase of the highest caliber.

    —Catey Sullivan

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  • Chicago on the Aisle

    November 1, 2012

    4 STARS.[Burger’s] performance is – well, the word that leaps to mind is ‘beautiful.’ … No less critical to Wasteland‘s impact, however, are set designer Kevin Depinet’s dung-hole of a prison and the graphic lighting by Jesse Klug. This is not a place you’d ever want to be. Indeed, you come away with a keen sense of your every creature comfort. That, and a high regard for the intensity, potency and credibility director William Brown has coaxed from two actors whose compressed world resonates in a single skin.”

    —Lawrence B. Johnson

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  • Around the Town Chicago

    October 19, 2012

    HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. 4 STARS. “[TimeLine’s] current production, another world premiere, Wasteland written by Susan Felder is another in a long list of memorable moments in live theater. … This is a play worth seeing as it shows how no matter what life has dealt you, hope and faith can help you to bear almost anything.”

    —Alan Bresloff

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  • Showbiz Chicago

    November 8, 2012

    “Sitting through TimeLine’s phenomenal World premiere of Susan Felder’s Wasteland is one of the most daunting and moving experiences you will have in the theatre.Wasteland is masterfully directed by William Brown … Mr. Burger and Mr. Haggard are no less than sensational, both conveying such truth in each of their characters. … This is an actor’s’ piece with Mr. Burger and Mr. Haggard turning in the best performances of their career.”

    —Michael J. Roberts

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  • Centerstage Chicago

    October 21, 2012

    RECOMMENDED. “Entering the theatre, you’re transported into a mist-filled jungle alive with the cries of wildlife. … What Felder’s drama does so well is to personalize the terror, helplessness and claustrophobia of internment. … [a] thrilling, emotionally charged drama.

  • Stage and Cinema

    October 19, 2012

    HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. “A gripping world premiere at TimeLine … brilliantly performed and thought provoking … Burger and Haggard make up an indelible team.”

    —Dan Zeff

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  • Chicago Theatre Review

    October 21, 2012

    HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. “TimeLine Theatre pulls the audience back in time to the Vietnam War in order to throw us into the present political divide surrounding the upcoming election. … Wasteland is definitely a production not to be missed, and the skillful way TimeLine has handled this world premiere will ensure future productions of the script. When the lights came up at the end of the show, my first thought was ‘this is why I do theatre.’

  • Windy City Times

    October 31, 2012

    “For me, Wasteland is far more potent, skillful and successful as an exploration of the desperation, hopelessness, isolation and mind-numbing boredom of captivity … This world premiere also is elevated by an excellent production that benefits from caring and lucid direction by William Brown, a superbly realistic and gritty scenic design complete with rain by Kevin Depinet (lighting by Jesse Klug) and—above all—an honest and remarkable performance by Burger, who is totally immersed in his wet and filthy environment and completely committed to Joe’s reality. Haggard’s voice-only support is varied, effective and absolutely vital, but Burger is the one whose award-worthy work carries Wasteland.”

    —Jonathan Abarbanel

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  • The Fourth Walsh

    October 25, 2012

    “Playwright Susan Felder wrote a compelling war story. The dialogue is a 60s/70s pop culture flashback. The premise is compelling and mind-blowing! And under the expert direction of William Brown, the two actors are exceptional. Their anguish is both unfathomable and relatable. … The pair pulls us into their shared nightmare. Powerful!

    —Katy Walsh

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  • Chicago Critic

    October 18, 2012

    HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. “With a swiftly paced intensity and loads of suspense, Wasteland unfolds as a riveting two-hander upon an awesome set … You’ll be on the edge of your seat throughout this most rivetingly powerful drama.

    —Tom Williams

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Discussions & Events

  • Sunday Scholars Series
    November 18, 10:00 pm

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

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