A poignant satire, The BenchMark follows a homeless man named “Mark” as he relates his observations on the world around him and his life experiences, while seeking refuge from their pain in liquor and literature. The protagonist is a composite character based on the lives of three homeless men, one of whom was playwright Rick Roberts’ late father. Combining social commentary, pathos, and biting humor, the play is an elegy to the misfit in each of us.
The BenchMark originally premiered in Chicago in 2004, directed by Jonathan Thomas, founder of Simple Theater productions, and produced by Kelly Molchan, with all proceeds going to services for the homeless. Vignettes from the play were then selected to be performed as part of the city’s inaugural Looptopia festival in 2007. Most recently, the same producing and directing team returned for a much-praised theatrical run in the winter of 2008 at Pierce Hall in the Chicago Temple, with all box office profits being donated to Sacred Space International and the Chicago Temple.
These “really phenomenal” (ABC 7) performances of “a timely play” (Chicago Sun-Times) were highly recommended by ABC7’s Chicagoing, The Chicago Sun-Times, Chicago Magazine, Streetwise, WGNRadio, Metromix, and the Chicago Reader, among others.
The BenchMark was also staged in Chicago at the Athenaeum as a full theatrical run by Step Up Productions in Sept/Oct 2013, and most recently in late 2014 by Producer/Actor Jerod Howard at Arts Live in Waukegan, Illinois.