Windy City Media Group Frontpage News


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



THEATER 'Space Age' focuses on queer kids of color
by Liz Baudler

This article shared 384 times since Wed Jul 13, 2016
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Talking to Ricardo Gamboa and Sean Parris mere hours after Orlando felt uncanny. The couple, well-known in Chicago's theater scene, have co-written a play, Space Age, about growing up as queer kids of color, and clearly the crime committed against Black and Brown LGBTQ people haunted Gamboa as he spoke.

"I think one of the questions we were wrestling with is why would anyone need to see this play, why do we need to do it," reflected Gamboa. "And it's so weird because when you think about the events that happened last night...When I was just a closeted repressed mid-20s person I would get drunk and drive to the gay clubs hammered, the only time that I ever gave myself permission to go to a gay club. Because of the places where I grew up, I didn't perceive that possibility to actually be open and out. One of those times I got totally pulled over, arrested for DUI. I think about so much of the ways in which the circumstances underpinning our biographies are about being at the intersection of a person of color and also a queer person."

Gamboa and Parris' play has its roots in their modern love story and the pop-culture references of their childhood. The pair met over Facebook Messenger. "We were friends, but not really friends, we didn't really know each other," Parris remembered. "We started talking about the things that we related to as children. And in 1994, we both saw a movie called "I Like it Like That." I never met anybody on this planet who had seen that movie."

"The show goes over the first 48 hours of our relationship, and then at the same time, it's kind of us navigating our childhoods, growing up in these places and trying to figure out how to be queer where there weren't really models for it," said Gamboa.

Implicit in the Free Street Theater production is the desire to show a different narrative than the usual gay love or coming of age story. "One of the things we realized is that we weren't necessarily seeing our experiences represented out there," Parris said.

"So much of the theater by queer people of color and queer people is tragic theater," said Gamboa. "It's like the confessional mode of 'here's how I'm oppressed', or this type of gay liberation narrative. Or gay frivolity, like the gay couple in the condo going through some type of issue. And I think one of the things that we were thinking a lot about was how do we create something that doesn't apply to both of those things. I was really invested in how we found hope and love and resilience, and how could we make a play that's about a politics of hope for queer and racialized people."

This goal is vital to Gamboa. "That narrative that gay people are a moral hazard and a sinful bunch is what makes it possible for a man to walk in and shoot 50 of them with an assault rifle," he said. "I think we're alive at a time where being queer—it's this weird dichotomy where being queer is more embraced than ever in the mainstream, like Orange Is the New Black, RuPaul's Drag Race—and at the same time, there's still an immense amount of violence that all queer people go through, particularly poor queer youth of color."

The couple hope to welcome audiences that might not feel comfortable with other theater productions. "I would love to get people who feel alienated," said Parris. "Like, I don't want to speak for every theater but there's a certain kind of snobbiness that comes with going to the theater, there's a certain kind of etiquette, and it's complicated, but I think what happens with that etiquette is that you end up alienating a lot of people."

The production plans on doing outreach to queer youth, and Parris and Gamboa welcome critique of what they present. "There's a fear, but also a 'bring it on' kind of thing too," said Parris. "But I'm curious at the conversation afterwards. I actually want to there to be a conversation about who gets to tell stories and why do they get to tell stories."

"We're trying to do honest storytelling," said Gamboa. "We're trying to make sure that we are composing this stuff not based on the reaction that we want, but on the reaction that it can make possible and the actions that it might incite."

Gamboa said he thinks that white gays and lesbians can not only identify and think critically about Space Age, but that the audience can be challenged to think about how theater is produced.

"I think it's actually really thinking about who gets to tell stories, what stories get celebrated, and how did that system, that let certain people rise and be seen, come into play?" Gamboa said. "The average theatergoer can do a lot in terms of challenging those power dynamics, and a lot of it is rethinking about what constitutes good work. Who articulates all of those standards and metrics of measurement [and] artistic legitimacy?"

While the artists' reputation could have landed the play anywhere, Space Age's home at Free Street is a deliberate choice. "If the play's about two boys finding ways to survive outside the institution, the mainframe, we're definitely going to try and lace that into the production ideology," said Gamboa.

The couple loved both getting in touch with aspects of their childhood—both mentioned putting on high heels and realizing how much more natural that act was when they were kids—and working together. Gamboa said he'd always hoped to collaborate with a romantic partner.

"Our living-room wall looks like a serial killer's wall," joked Gamboa. "We've been mapping out this show. We have these long days, we go work out together, we come up and pick up the house and eat together and then we create together until we have to go to bed."

"I think every person that's in a relationship should try and create something together, because in the end what it does is it really forces you to articulate," said Parris. "So if you're having a problem, you have to articulate. We're not going to abandon this; we want to deepen this. It forces us to go in there and duke it out and love each other again. And make room for each other."

Space Age is running July 18 and 25, and Aug. 1 at 7 p.m. at Free Street Theater, 1419 W. Blackhawk St., third Floor. Tickets are pay-what-you-can: more info at .

This article shared 384 times since Wed Jul 13, 2016
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.


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 ...

Gay News

Victory Gardens Theater announces plans for 2021-22 season 2021-09-10
--From a press release - Chicago, IL— Victory Gardens Theater announces their 2021/2022 Season, which will be presented in-person at the Biograph Theater in Lincoln Park. The season will feature three mainstage productions: Queen of the Night by travis tate, the ...

Gay News

Broken Nose Theatre presenting Black LGBTQ drama 'Kingdom' Oct. 4-24 2021-09-10
- Broken Nose Theatre is launching its tenth season with an audio adaptation of its hit 2018 play Kingdom, written by resident playwright Michael Allen Harris and directed by Manny Buckley. Kingdom features ensemble members RjW Mays ...

Gay News

DANCE Ensemble Espanol to open Auditorium Theatre season Oct. 16 2021-09-10
- Ensemble Espanol Spanish Dance Theater, in residence at Northeastern Illinois University, will return to the Auditorium Theatre on Saturday, Oct. 16, at 7:30 p.m. The company will mark the finale performance of its 45th-anniversary "Zafiro Flamenco ...

Gay News

'Close-Up with Carmen' Sept. 9 at Center on Halsted 2021-09-08
- 'Close-Up with Carmen'—about the intersection of drag and opera—will take place Thursday, Sept. 9, at 6 p.m. at the Hoover-Leppen Theatre at Center on Halsted, 3656 N. Halsted St. During this event, participants will discuss cross-dressi ...

Gay News

THEATER Neo-Futurists' 'The Infinite Wrench' returns to the stage Sept. 18 2021-09-08
- Chicago's longest-running late-night show, The Neo-Futurists' The Infinite Wrench, kicks off the company's 2021-22 season of programming with a return to weekly in-person performances on Saturday, Sept. 18. The signature ...

Gay News

THEATER 'American Mariachi' at Goodman on Sept. 18-Oct. 24 2021-09-05
- Goodman Theatre is running American Mariachi—a new comedy about the freedom to dream big, written by Jose Cruz Gonzalez, directed by Goodman Resident Artistic Associate Henry Godinez and presented as part of Chicago Latino Theater Alliance's ...

Gay News

MUSIC Upcoming 'Carmen' featuring queer lead, male drag 2021-09-05
- On Sept. 16 and 18 at the Harris Theater for Music and Dance, 205 E. Randolph St., Chicago audiences will have the rare opportunity to hear two world-class dramatic mezzo-sopranos debut new roles opposite one another ...

Gay News

MUSICALS Highland Park Players to run 'Matilda' Sept. 24-Oct. 3 2021-09-03
- The Highland Park Players return to live theater with the Tony-winning musical Matilda The Musical! opening Sept. 24 and running through Oct. 3 at the Northbrook Theatre, 3323 Walters Ave., Northbrook. Performances are Sept. 24-25 and ...


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.








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.