WINDY CITY TIMES
||THEATER REVIEW By Association
by Mary Shen Barnidge
This article shared 497 times since Wed Feb 1, 2017
Playwright: Shepsu Aakhu. At: MPAACT at the Greenhouse, 2257 N. Lincoln Ave. Tickets: $28-$32. Runs through: Feb. 22
Our nation's immediate response to the bombing of the World Trade Center in 2001 was not its finest hour. If it was, the days that followedafter the shock of being attacked on our own ground gave way to a free-floating fear attaching itself to anything or anyone not like "us" ( however you define that term )were characterized by the primitive paranoia always lurking beneath the veneer of rationality in a fundamentally uncertain universe.
Individuals who have experienced periods of upheaval targeting specific demographics have come to expect a temporary measure of abuse by authorities, based first and foremost on outward appearance. This accounts for the antipathy in our country toward individuals of swarthy ancestry. ( Melanin-rich complexions being a dominant heredity trait, this includes most of the world population. ) At various times in our history, Asian, Mediterranean and Native American individuals have found themselves regarded with hostility in Eurocentric societies, while even at the height of the civil unrest in Belfast, Irish terrorists traveled unmolested through our neighborhoods.
The most entrenched animosity in our country, however, is reserved for those of African descent, whether newly arrived immigrants or 10th-generation U.S. citizens. Shepsu Aakhu's play recounts the trials of Joseph Mason, his Ethiopian wife Almaz and their sonscollege-aged Sabona and teenage Abdi, the latter a singer in a multicultural youth choir touring high schools. One day, a bomb is detonated on an "L" train. Surveillance cameras show another choir member, Omar Bulatovic, carrying a backpack and boarding the train. Upon learning that Muslim Omar and Orthodox Christian Abdi have been seen together attending mosque, Homeland Security descends on the Mason family to question Abdi ( whose name is entered in the records as "Abdul" ) regarding his terrorist sympathies.
This worst-case scenario ( Did I mention that Almaz is already prepared for flight, or that Sabona is intercepted wearing Buddhist drag and leafleting for Myanmar? ) could easily be played as caricature, satirical or propagandistic, but Lauren Wells' direction never allows the characters to exceed the boundaries of plausibility, instead granting even the ostensible villains the logic of their misguided assumptions.
We can chuckle at Casablanca's Captain Renault casually declaring "Round up the usual suspects," but in a year where television game-shows propose to instruct us in tactics for escape and evasion, Aakhu's hypothesis makes for timely contemplation: what would you do, if "the usual suspects" meant people like you?
This article shared 497 times since Wed Feb 1, 2017
| ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE|
|Opera Preview: Life of gay World War II hero Alan Turing transformed into a world-premiere opera 2023-03-17|
- It has taken a decade for The Life and Death(s) of Alan Turing to grow from an idea into a full- fledged opera. Chicago Opera Theater stages the world premiere of composer Justine F. Chen and ...
|Chicago Black Dance Legacy Project to present dance concert 'Sans Pareil' 2023-03-14|
--From a press release - Deeply Rooted Dance Theater joins the Chicago Black Dance Legacy Project again to take the stage in a dance concert entitled Sans Pareil—French for "unparalleled," a nod to the Haitian lineage of Chicago's founder, Jean-Baptiste Pointe ...
|House Musical, Coming of Age in the Age of House, coming to Hoover-Leppen Theatre 2023-03-14|
--From a press release - Campsongs Productions presents the world premiere of House Musical - Coming of Age in the Age of House, with book by Marcus Waller, music by Scott Free (with Michael Foley) and lyrics by Scott Free and ...
|RuPaul's Drag Race WERQ THE WORLD in Chicago Aug. 4 2023-03-12|
--From a press release - RuPaul's Drag Race WERQ THE WORLD, the largest drag show on earth, returns in 2023 with a show in Chicago Aug. 4 and in 100+ cities across the United States, Canada, Australia, Asia, Europe and Mexico! ...
|SHOWBIZ Little Richard, Indigo Girls, Rodriguez's honor, dance film, Pedro Pascal 2023-03-10|
Video below - Produced by Bungalow Media + Entertainment for CNN Films and HBO Max, in association with Rolling Stone Films, director Lisa Cortes' Sundance opening-night documentary Little Richard: I Am Everything will debut in theaters and on VOD ...
|Steppenwolf Theatre Company's 2023 Gala May 13 at The Old Post Office 2023-03-06|
--From a press release - CHICAGO (March 6, 2023) — The Steppenwolf Ensemble and Board of Trustees are pleased to host Steppenwolf 2023 Galaan unforgettable evening celebrating 47 years of powerful and thought-provoking storytelling. Emceed ...
|Center on Halsted presents annual Intergenerational Talent Show 2023-03-06|
- On March 2, Center on Halsted hosted its Fifth Annual Intergenerational Talent Show, featuring performances from participants from the Youth and Family Services and the Senior Services programs. Participants in the free event presented a program ...
|SHOWBIZ Wanda Sykes, Jonas Brothers, 'Queen of Versailles,' 'Bloodshed' 2023-03-04|
Adam Lambert video below - Award-winning comedian Wanda Sykes' new comedy special, I'm An Entertainer, will premiere globally on Netflix on May 23, a press release announced. The special, directed by Linda Mendoza, was filmed in early February 2023 at Philadelphia's ...
|Theater Review: one in two 2023-03-01|
- Playwright: Donja R. Love. At: PrideArts at Pride Arts Center, 4139 N. Broadway Tickets: 773-857-0222; $35. Runs through March 19 Playwright Donja R. Love stresses that lower case letters should be used for the title of ...
|The Jeff Awards to honor Myrna Salazar with special non-Equity honor 2023-03-01|
--From a Jeff Awards press release - (March 1, 2023 - Chicago) — Recognizing a lifetime of theater excellence, the Joseph Jefferson Awards will honor the late arts activist Myrna Salazar at the organization's 49th Anniversary Non-Equity Awards celebration on Monday, March 2 ...
|PrideArts presents 'one in two' 2023-02-22|
--From a press release - Title: one in two. By Donja R. Love/ Directed by Jordan Ratlliff Monday, Feb. 20 - 7:30 p.m. Pride Arts Center, 4139 N. Broadway, Chicago One in two Black men in America who have sex with other men will be diagnosed ...
|Christine Heesun Hwang personifies Eponine in Les Miserables 2023-02-19|
- Out performer Christine Heesun Hwang "dreamed a dream" of joining the cast one of Les Miserables—now showing at the Cadillac Palace Theater—and now she's made that dream into a reality. Set in 19th-century France, Les Miserables ...
|SHOWBIZ Black queer films, Janet Jackson, Paramore, WNBA, GALECA contest 2023-02-19|
- Queerty ran a piece on 10 films that celebrate Black queer love. Some of them include The Skinny (with Jussie Smollett), Dee Rees' movie Pariah, the Oscar-winning Moonlight, the Marlon Riggs classic Tongues Untied, Brother to ...
|Theater Review: Cabaret continues to reflect on our modern challenges 2023-02-14|
- Title: Cabaret. Book: Joe Masteroff; Score: John Kander & Fred Ebb. At: Porchlight Music Theatre at Ruth Page Center for the Arts, 1016 N. Dearborn St. Tickets: 773-777-9884 or www.PorchlightMusicTheatre.org; prices begin at $25. Runs through ...
|SHOWBIZ Isaac Mizrahi, Viola Davis, Laura Jane Grace, Elton John, GLAAD 2023-02-11|
- On Sherri Shepherd's talk show, entertainer/fashion designer Isaac Mizrahi said he'd love for out actor Dan Levy to portray him in a potential biopic based on Mizrahi's memoir, I.M., The Wrap noted. "Dan Levy, OK," Mizrahi ...