Windy City Media Group Frontpage News


home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2021-12-08



THEATER Cuttings

This article shared 2896 times since Wed Oct 15, 2003
facebook twitter google +1 reddit email

Playwright: David Rush

At: Stage Left Theatre, 3408 N. Sheffield

Phone: (773) 883-8830; $18-$22

Runs through: Nov. 15

Have you heard the one about the pedophile with the Heart Of Gold? Of course you have. Old men (and women, too) enamored of Innocence as an abstract concept—and of preadolescent pulchritude as its material manifestation—invariably proclaim benevolent intentions, masking selfish impulses in lofty speeches designed to represent themselves as nurturers bent on 'protecting' guileless children from corrupting influences and instructing them in the virtues of unrepressed affection.

Former psychiatrist Paul Benning is another such Pygmalion. After taking in a fresh-off-the-bus teenage runaway, he proceeds to seduce the naive lad, not with sexual overtures, but with a romantic yarn of seeking redemption for his sins through debasement of the flesh—that is, slashing himself with razor blades, a ritual punishment he asks the horrified but nevertheless intrigued Gregory to inflict upon him. Upon meeting the latter's eccentric mother, however, the crafty chicken-hawk sees an opportunity to manipulate both to his own advantage.

Cuttings could have emerged a deliciously twisted comedy in the style of Robert Bloch, Joe Orton and Dennis Potter. If Tartuffe's chicanery capitalized on his society's superficial understanding of religion, Benning's deception relies on our own Shrink-as-Savior stereotype, his talent for casuistic extemporization rivaling that of television's mind-scrambling Detective Goren (ref. Law And Order: Criminal Intent). But director Jesse D. Hill inexplicably insists on treating David Rush's play as straightforward sociodrama, even to decorating the lobby with clinical data on the aberrant behavior practiced by its personnel.

Chameleonic actor Ron Wells is capable of forging personality from the sketchiest of descriptions, his confident presence endowing Benning with a Svengali-esque allure that fascinates us with snakelike intensity (but does not diminish our glee when his sly scheme backfires on him). And since Gregory and his mom are characterized chiefly by their gullibility, Geoff Rice needs only to project adolescent giddiness, and Wendye Clarendon, cheerful denial. Robert G. Smith's sandstone-textured set and Edward Reardon's delicate incidental music are pleasantly evocative and nicely executed. But ultimately, Hill's humorless approach to her text renders the play's exquisitely ironic punch-line merely puzzling.

The Sound of a Voice

Created by: Philip Glass, composer, and David Henry Hwang, librettist

At: Court Theatre, 5535 S. Ellis

Phone: (773) 753-4472; $26-$50

Runs through: Nov. 2


The collaboration between east (librettist David Henry Hwang, he of M. Butterfly fame) and west (minimalist composer Philip Glass) is magical and enchanting. The two giants of operatic and musical theater complement each other, bringing out the very best in the staging of the new, and powerful, opera The Sound of a Voice.

Drawn from Japanese ghost stories, The Sound of Voice (sparingly directed by Robert Woodruff, with musical direction and conducting by Alan Johnson) is a spellbinding meditation on the highs and lows of human connection. The first act, The Sound of a Voice, is the tale of a lonely woman (mezzo-soprano Suzan Hanson), rumored to be a witch and her relationship with a warrior (Herbert Perry). The two engage in a strange dance, charting the course of love between a man and a woman. Suspicion and mistrust make their ultimate connection difficult (she believes he, like so many others in her past, has come to execute the 'witch' and thus make a name for himself; he is uncertain about his own motivations and the unexpected feelings the woman inspires). Hwang crafts dialogue that borders on the mundane, but which has a rich subtext, showing the growing affection the two have for one another, and the impediments of fear that cause them to hold back. It's beautiful work, gripping and true. Glass's music, so often the province of repetitive arpeggios, is forced to speak in a new musical language, defined by the depth of Eastern spiritualism. His music takes on new dimension here, especially because it's outfitted in a different set of clothes than what Glass has become known for: eastern instruments make up a large part of the orchestra and Glass fits his style to mesh with the bamboo flute (Susan Gall), eerie percussion (Tina Keitel) and the elegant stringed pipa (masterfully played by Min Xiao-Fen).

The Sound of a Voice (the title refers to how important such a thing can be to quell human loneliness … the woman says, 'It's the easiest thing to find, and the hardest to hold onto.') is rich in emotional resonance, and flawless in its execution. Witness the silence of the audience in anticipating each step in Hwang's construction … this is powerful theater at its finest.

The second act, Hotel of Dreams, brings us into the realm of a strange brothel that traffics in providing succor in the form of sleep (and perhaps death) to aged men. Again we have a man and a woman playing out the intriguing story. Again form and function marry in a poetic, telling way. The performances here are equally as good as in the first act (the woman is played by Janice Felty and the man by Herbert Perry's brother, Eugene).

Director Woodruff has kept his set lean (set design is by Robert Israel), with an almost bare stage dominated by a large, translucent box set at an angle. The box can be illuminated from within to reveal its interior. The remaining creative touches (supplied by Kasia Walicka Maimone, costumes, Beverly Emmons, lighting, and David Remedios, sound) contribute strongly to evoke the spare and lyrical storytelling.

The Sound of a Voice, as a whole, is a sumptuous experience, raw in emotion, and polished in execution. It's a must-see.

This article shared 2896 times since Wed Oct 15, 2003
facebook twitter google +1 reddit email


Gay News

Victory Gardens presents reading of 'exercise your demons,' a play on trauma of a gay male body 2022-01-26
-- From a press release - CHICAGO, IL — Victory Gardens Theater presents the Ignite Chicago reading of exercise your demons: a play on the trauma of a gay male body written by Gage Tarlton and directed by Ryan Dobrin, with movement ...

Gay News

THEATER REVIEW The Moors 2022-01-26
- Title: The Moors. Playwright: Jen Silverman At: A Red Orchid Theatre, 1531 N. Wells St. Tickets: $30-$40; Runs through: Feb. 27 "I've been employed in many houses," declares newly hired Emily, following her arrival at ...

Gay News

Hell in a Handbag Productions presenting 'The Drag Seed' 2022-01-24
-- From a press release - CHICAGO (January 24, 2022) — Hell in a Handbag Productions is pleased to continue its 20th anniversary season with a revival of its popular comedy The Drag Seed, an unauthorized parody of the 1956 psychological horror-thriller ...

Gay News

PASSAGES Pansy Kings performance artist, education advocate Murray McKay 2022-01-20
- Pansy Kings performance artist, education advocate, curator, designer and LGBTQ activist Edward Murray McKay died Jan. 4 of cancer. He was 53. McKay was born Oct. 2, 1968, in Brussels, Belgium. The family moved to Toronto ...

Gay News

THEATER Red Orchid's 'The Moors' running through Feb. 27 2022-01-15
- A Red Orchid Theatre is running Jen Silverman's The Moors, directed by Artistic Director and Ensemble Member Kirsten Fitzgerald, through Feb. 27 at A Red Orchid Theatre, 1531 N. Wells St. The plot is as follows: ...

Gay News

THEATER About Face announces cast of queer-themed 'Laced' 2022-01-14
- About Face Theatre begins its 27th season with the world premiere of Samantha Mueller's drama Laced, running March 17-April 16 at the Den Theatre, 1333 N. Milwaukee Ave. Set in the aftermath of the vandalism of ...

Gay News

Black Ensemble Theatre announces 2022 Season of Excellence: The Season of Healings 2022-01-14
-- From a press release - Chicago, IL—Black Ensemble Theater's Founder and CEO Jackie Taylor announces its 2022 Season of Excellence: The Season of Healings. The 2022 Season includes four World Premiere musicals showcasing the power ...

Gay News

THEATER DuSable, puppet company to run Toni Morrison's 'The Bluest Eye' 2022-01-13
- The DuSable Museum of African American History is partnering with the 4th Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival to present a production of The Bluest Eye, based on Toni Morrison's 1970 groundbreaking coming-of-age novel. The production will ...

Gay News

THEATER 'This Is Only a Test' Feb. 11-March 12 2022-01-12
- Broken Nose Theatre, a pay-what-you-can theater company, is welcoming back live audiences this winter with the world premiere of Eric Reyes Loo's drama This Is Only a Test, directed by Toma Tavares Langston. The production will ...

Gay News

THEATER Queer-themed 'Queen of the Night' to run Jan. 29-March 13 2022-01-11
- Victory Gardens Theater is slated to open its 2021-22 Mainstage Season with Queen of the Night, written by travis tate and directed by Victory Gardens Artistic Director Ken-Matt Martin. Queen of the Night features Terry Guest ...

Gay News

THEATER 'Mary Rose' running through Feb. 12 2022-01-10
- Black Button Eyes (BBE) Productions is concluding its 2021-22 season with the world-premiere musical Mary Rose, featuring book and lyrics by Producing Artistic Director Ed Rutherford, music and lyrics by Jeff Bouthiette, direction by Ed Rutherford ...

Gay News

THEATER 'Queens of Infinite Space' canceled because of COVID 2022-01-07
- With the increase in COVID-19 cases in Chicago and beyond, Proboscis Theatre has decided to cancel the performances of The Queens of Infinite Space set to run at Epiphany Center for Arts, 201 S. Ashland Ave., ...

Gay News

THEATER Steppenwolf delays '1919' premiere due to COVID 2022-01-07
- Due to the COVID-19 surge driven by the Omicron variant, and out of an abundance of caution for public health, Steppenwolf Theatre Company has postponed its Steppenwolf for Young Adults world-premiere adaptation of Eve L. Ewing's ...

Gay News

Mercury Theater Chicago announces casting and artists for 'Women of Soul' 2022-01-06
--From a press release - Chicago —Artistic Director Christopher Chase Carter, Managing Director Shane Murray-Corcoran, and Executive Producers Walter Stearns and Eugene Dizonannounce the cast and creative team for the next Mainstage production of the ...

Gay News

THEATER Trans performer Sis is doin' fine in 'Oklahoma!' 2022-01-05
- This isn't your typical grandma's Oklahoma! The very first musical written by Rodgers and Hammerstein opened on Broadway in 1943 and continues to captivate audiences today. The dialogue remains the same, but updated casting choices have ...


Copyright © 2022 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.






About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.