Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2019-01-16
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES                DOWNLOAD PDF ISSUE

THEATER REVIEW BLISS, or Emily Post Is Dead!
by Lauren Emily Whalen
2018-08-08

facebook twitter del.icio.us stumble upon digg google +1 reddit email


Playwright: Jami Brandli

At: Athenaeum Theatre ( Studio One ), 2936 N. Southport Ave. Tickets: $17-27; 773-935-6875 or AthenaeumTheatre.org . Runs through: Aug. 25

Teatime English crumpets, handmade red scarves, pills concealed in a Hoover bag—these are the talismans of Greek goddesses reincarnated as bored housewives and precocious teenagers in 1960 New Jersey.

And when a prophet comes to town in the form of a meek typist, how will everything change? BLISS ( or Emily Post is Dead! ) is an intelligent, fierce exploration of second-wave feminism interspersed with ancient legends. Anna Bahow's thoughtful yet brutal direction of Jami Brandli's world premiere ( simultaneously opening in Chicago, San Diego and Los Angeles ) sets a strong precedent for female-driven plays in the Me Too era.

No one expects to hear their own demise, but that's precisely what Cassandra ( Kaci Antkiewicz ) sets out to do. However, no one will listen. Maddy ( Alice Wu ) is preoccupied with her absentee spouse and making the perfect snack. Clementine ( Jamie Bragg ) is intent on leaving her husband for her doctor ( Jared Dennis, who also plays Apollo ). And Antonia ( Kellen Robinson ) dodges her abusive guardian while pining after a boy of another race. They all rely on Emily Post's advice, her etiquette edicts a shared language—but what happens when Post meets own fate and Cassandra's visions start coming true?

Having a sellable concept—Greek goddesses in sixties suburbia!—is one thing, but strong execution is quite another, and I've seen many plays without the latter. BLISS is a clear exception: Brandli's done her research on Clytemnestra, Medea, Antigone and Cassandra. As well as the general arcs, little touches abound: an ad for Antonia's uncle Creon's business, Clementine's elegy for her lost child, Maddy's struggle to hide her true self and follow every single invisible rule. Is it any wonder they turn to pharmaceuticals? As mediocre white man Apollo points out, Cassandra is a Black woman in a white society; as he infers, she's doomed to take on endless physical and emotional labor from everyone around her.

Only a few hiccups exist. Cassandra's less character and more plot device, while the other three women have rich inner lives. Also, Cassandra's prophecy of modern times—"a demagogue rises to power"—feels superfluous, and why would Antonia pick 2018 over any other year?

Despite Brandli's minor setbacks, she's broken through the "simpler time" nostalgia and created a candy-colored world with dark undertones that's still painfully relevant. Carrie Campana's costume design is both accurate and vibrant, with pastel housedresses to die for. Both Bragg and Robinson shine as young women on the verge, ultimately doomed but willing to sacrifice for love. Equal parts Real Housewives, Mad Men and myth, BLISS perfectly sums up today's dejected Hillary supporters, recovering assault survivors and persecuted women of color in one angry climactic line: "I am not your girl anymore!"


facebook twitter del.icio.us stumble upon digg 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

Digital lottery, rush tickets for 'Fiddler' 2019-02-02
New authors take on hard-hitting subjects at Playwrights Festival 2019-01-16
Fillet of Solo Storytelling Fest, Archy Jamjun, A Boy & A Diva Jan. 18, 25 2019-01-16
'Hedwig' tour in Chicago in 2019 2019-01-16
Groundbreaking 'I AM... Fest' April 27-29 2019-01-16
Johnson/Nash book release party Jan. 31 2019-01-16
OUT on Stage' Jan. 17 on Dekkoo 2019-01-16
18th Annual Chicago Sketch Comedy Festival line-up named 2019-01-16
'Nina Simone' through March 2 2019-01-16
NUNN ON ONE Kristina Valada-Viars: Out actress discusses lengthy career 2019-01-16
Aaron Alexander on being part of the 'Hamilton' ensemble 2019-01-16
THEATER REVIEW St. Nicholas 2019-01-16
Theater Spotlight on Saltine 2019-01-16
Critics' Picks 2019-01-16
THEATER REVIEW I Call My Brothers 2019-01-16
Auditorium offering free tickets to furloughed workers 2019-01-15
Carol Channing dies at 97 2019-01-15
LGBTQ performance of "I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change" one night Feb. 9 2019-01-15
Broadway's Corey Cott, Mikaela Bennett to lead Lyric Opera's West Side Story 2019-01-12
Victory Gardens Theater to premiere If I Forget 2019-01-11
Hell in a Handbag presents Golden Girls, The Lost episodes, Valentine edition 2019-01-09
Novelist's fascination with history comes alive on stage 2019-01-09
About Face heats January with 'Dada Woof Papa Hot' 2019-01-08
Critics' Picks 2019-01-08
'OUT on Stage' Jan. 17 on Dekkoo 2019-01-08
Haven Theatre, About Face Theatre to present The Total Bent 2019-01-08
OUTspoken! monthly LGBTQ storytelling series Jan. 8 2019-01-03
Gary Sinise book event Feb. 18 2019-01-02
'Dada Woof' cast announced 2019-01-02
La Ruta 2019-01-01
The best of Chicago theater (part two) 2019-01-01
Sketch Comedy Festival sets line-up 2019-01-01
Deeply Rooted Dance Theater has new site, leadership changes 2019-01-01
Chicago theatres ring in 2019 2018-12-28
THEATER FEATURE The best of Chicago theater (part one) 2018-12-26
Barney the Elf 2018-12-26
Critics' Picks 2018-12-26
SPOTLIGHT on Fantastic Mr. Fox 2018-12-26
10 Questions with Vic: Ed Asner 2018-12-26
Season of Concern awards $93K 2018-12-26
 



Copyright © 2019 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
Sponsor


 



Sponsor

About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Submit an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

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