Windy City Media Group Frontpage News

THE VOICE OF CHICAGO'S GAY, LESBIAN, BI, TRANS AND QUEER COMMUNITY SINCE 1985

home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2021-09-01
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
Donate

Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

THEATER REVIEW Suddenly Last Summer
by Jonathan Abarbanel, Windy City Times
2018-05-13

This article shared 623 times since Sun May 13, 2018
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Playwright: Tennessee Williams

At: Raven Theatre, 6157 N. Clark Street. Tickets: 773-338-2177; RavenTheatre.com; $46. Runs through June 17

New Orleans is a drinking town, but in Suddenly Last Summer old Violet Venable has one lone daiquiri while everyone else stays dry. This play demonstrates that terrible things happen when you don't drink in the Big Easy. Or not.

This taut psychological thriller runs just 90 minutes but nonetheless it's as perversely poetic as any of Williams' longer works. With its repeated rhythms, words and phrases, its fraught situation and rich language—redolent with images of voracious plants, birds and people feeding upon each other in what Sebastian Venable views as God's savage face—Suddenly Last Summer is all about the acting. Capable director Jason Gerace tampers slightly with the script and action, but nonetheless delivers nuanced and assured performances throughout ( even understudy Song Marshall as the housemaid ).

It's set in the 1930s Garden District mansion of patrician Mrs. Venable ( Mary K. Nigohosian ), who holds all the cards—money, connections, dominance over poor relations—while her traumatized niece, Catherine Holly ( Grayson Heyl ), holds none ... except perhaps the horrific truth, for which Mrs. Venable is willing to lobotomize Catherine.

Their disagreement concerns Mrs. Venable's too-adored son, Sebastian, a 40-ish dilettante poet who died in Spain while traveling with Catherine. A heart attack? Or was Sebastian attacked and mutilated by adolescent boys, some of whom he'd paid for sex? Mrs. Venable contends Sebastian was ever-chaste and celibate, so she intends to suppress Catherine's account and fevered vision that the boys "devoured" him.

The play features two extended near-monologs in which Violet and Catherine deliver contrasting portraits of who-and-what Sebastian was. The facilitator is "Dr. Sugar," a nickname rendering of his Polish name, Cukrowicz ( an affable Wardell Julius Clark ), a neurosurgeon pioneering then-new lobotomies. Violet promises major financial support if he neutralizes Catherine, but Dr. Sugar remains impartial.

Nigohosian, Heyl and Clark play their roles with authority and humanity, never letting the language stiffen or trick them into poetic recitation. Nigohosian is particularly adept at avoiding vocal patterns or overplaying peremptory Violet Venable. It's the high level of acting we expect in the best off-Loop productions.

Joanna Iwanicka's mist-shrouded exotic garden scenic design and Claire Chrzan's muted but colorful lighting are most effective, and I really loved Brittany Dee Bodley's costumes, especially the matching off-white outfits for Violet and Dr. Sugar, subtly edged with tan trim.

I'm not among those who think Suddenly Last Summer expresses Williams' gay self-loathing. Gay characters don't fare well in most Williams plays and queerness is addressed only indirectly, but few of his hetero characters do much better! Williams never chooses between gay and straight, but between strong and weak. His gay characters mostly are weak and hidden—but such were times until late in his life.


This article shared 623 times since Sun May 13, 2018
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email





Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

THEATER REVIEW The Golden Girls: The Lost Episodes, Volume 5-SEX! 2021-09-24
- Title: The Golden Girls: The Lost Episodes, Volume 5—SEX! Playwright: David Cerda At: Hell In a Handbag Productions at the Leather Archives and Museum. Tickets: $27-$45. Runs through: HandbagProductions.org It could almost be the premise for ...


Gay News

THEATER Ex-'Jagged Little Pill' performers accuse production of anti-TGNC behavior 2021-09-24
- Two former cast members of Broadway's Jagged Little Pill—including Tony-nominated featured actress Celia Rose Gooding—released statements accusing the production of committing "harm to the trans and non-binary community, both onstage ...


Gay News

TimeLine Theatre Company announces 25th Anniversary Season 2021-09-24
Video below--From a press release - Chicago, IL, September 24, 2021 — TimeLine Theatre Company, acclaimed for presenting plays that explore today's social and political issues through the lens of the past, is thrilled to announce that it will celebrate its 25th ...


Gay News

'Firebird' opens Reeling Chicago LGBTQ+ Internat'l Film Fest tonight 2021-09-23
--From a press release - CHICAGO, Illinois — Tonight, the 39th annual Reeling: The Chicago LGBTQ+ International Film Festival invites audiences to enjoy an in-person pre-party and theater screening of 'Firebird' for Opening Night at the Music Box Theater. Director P ...


Gay News

THEATER Steppenwolf's 'Bug' running Nov. 11-Dec. 12 2021-09-22
- Steppenwolf Theatre Company will welcome audiences back for in-person performances for the first time in 20 months with its acclaimed revival of Bug by ensemble member Tracy Letts, in the Downstairs Theater on Nov. 11-Dec. 12. ...


Gay News

THEATER 'Hot Pink, or Ready to Blow' available for download 2021-09-21
- It's Pompeii meets Heathers as New American Folk Theatre continues its "season of audio theatre" with a new studio recording of its 2018 hit comedy Hot Pink, or Ready to Blow. The production was written by ...


Gay News

Congo Square Theatre Co. announces new Artistic Director Ericka Ratcliff 2021-09-20
- Congo Square Theatre Company, an African American theater company, announced that longtime company member Ericka Ratcliff will serve as its new artistic director, effective immediately. Ratcliff becomes only the fourth ...


Gay News

THEATER Steppenwolf presenting three Tracy Letts virtual works Sept. 29-Oct. 24 2021-09-18
- Leading up to ensemble member Tracy Letts' production Bug returning this November to Steppenwolf's Downstairs Theater, the company is bringing audiences a sampler of the playwright's voice to their homes with a trio of new virtual ...


Gay News

Frank Ferrante to return as 'Groucho' for one night 2021-09-15
- Actor/director Frank Ferrante returns to his internationally heralded stage performance for one night only in "An Evening With Groucho" on Tuesday, Oct. 26, at the Spiegeltent ZaZou, on the 14th floor of the Cambria Hotel Chicago ...


Gay News

THEATER Out actor Dan Butler to be in 'When Harry Met Rehab' 2021-09-15
- Don Clark, a Chicago-based film/theater producer as well as co-owner of the Chicago Magic Lounge, will present the world premiere of When Harry Met Rehab—a comedy that takes sobriety seriously and is based loosely on the ...


Gay News

Students urged to apply for Musical Theatre Awards 2021-09-14
- Broadway in Chicago is inviting high schools across Illinois to participate in the 11th Annual Illinois High School Musical Theatre Awards. These awards celebrate excellence in high school theater throughout the state. Beginning Thursday, Sept. 16, ...


Gay News

First Floor Theater announces 2021-22 season 2021-09-13
--From a press release - CHICAGO, IL (Sept. 13, 2021) — First Floor Theater is excited to announce their ninth live-production season, featuring one world premiere and one Chicago premiere, along with a second round of The Blueprint Commission, it' new ...


Gay News

AstonRep Theatre Company announces 2021-22 season: 2021-09-13
--From a press release - CHICAGO (Sept. 13, 2021) — AstonRep Theatre Company is pleased to welcome back live audiences this fall, kicking off with a revival of Yasmina Reza's frenetic dark comedy God of Carnage, translated by Christopher Hampton and ...


Gay News

THEATER 'Dear Mom, I'm Gay!' on Oct. 1-2 2021-09-11
- Dear Mom, I'm Gay!—a workshop of a new musical by David Dilsizian—is running at The Jarvis Square Theater, 1439 W. Jarvis Ave. It will take place at 7 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 1; and 2 and ...


Gay News

Saint Sebastian Players to perform four shows during 40th season 2021-09-10
--From a press release - The Saint Sebastian Players (SSP) announce the company is resuming live, in-person production with an expanded 40th Anniversary Season. The four-play lineup celebrates genres that have been popular with SSP ...


 



Copyright © 2021 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.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS







Sponsor
Sponsor


 



Donate


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.