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 2018-11-14
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

Flyin' West
by Jonathan Abarbanel, Windy City Times
2018-10-17

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Playwright: Pearl Cleage

At: American Blues Theater, Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont Ave. Tickets: 773-654-3103; AmericanBluesTheater.com; $19-$39. Runs through: Nov. 3

Pearl Cleage's 1992 Flyin' West is her first full-length play, which is apparent from its simple dramatic development and structure.

Indeed, the major event of Act II is so strongly telegraphed in advance that it plays out as comic, whether or not that was Cleage's intent. The play's popular appeal comes from its feisty, folksy, often funny and sometimes ferocious female characters, all very well portrayed in this production under veteran director Chuck Smith.

Most of Cleage's plays concern "the intersection of sexism and racism" as it relates the Black community, according to the Lisa M. Anderson book Black Feminism in Contemporary Drama, among other works. Flyin' West is true to form, although it has an historic setting: the all-Black town of Nicodemus, Kansas, which developed in post-Civil War America, when the Homestead Acts fueled Western expansion. By 1898 ( the play's setting ), adoptive sisters Sophie Washington ( Tiffany Oglesby ) and Fannie Dove ( Sydney Charles ) successfully farm several hundred acres. "This is the land that makes us free women," Sophie declares.

Grandmotherly Miss Leah ( Joslyn Jones ), born a slave, owns the adjoining farm, but is staying with Sophie and Fannie when youngest sister Minnie Dove Charles ( Tiffany Renee Johnson ) visits with her husband, the educated New Orleans Creole poet Frank Charles ( Wardell Julius Clark ). They've been living in England where Frank praises the absence of "colored" society. In Nicodemus, money-strapped Frank is interested to find white land speculators offering $500 an acre, because Minnie has a deed to one-third of the family farm. It's also quickly apparent that Frank physically abuses Minnie. What to do? "There are no laws to protect a woman from her husband," Sophie again declares. "It isn't a crime until he kills her."

Flyin' West isn't subtle; sometimes one wants to hiss the villain and cheer the hero. Fortunately, the women are appealing and sympathetic, allowing one to endorse the frontier justice of their final triumph. Lest anyone thing Cleage's views of men are entirely one-sided, she offers a counterpoint to Frank Charles in Wil Parish ( Henri Watkins ), a rough-hewn but soft-spoken man who patiently courts Fannie with flowers and respect. One wishes Cleage had brought this sweet romance to some conclusion.

Grant Sabin's scenic design provides a neat, clapboard house interior typical of the play's setting, not fancy but furnished with taste and spotlessly clean. Lily Grace Walls supplies charming period-accurate costumes, some plain and some fancy. Sound designer Rick Sims' prairie winds frequently howl, yet no one closes close the door!

Although Nicodemus had a checkered history and only brief glory, the Homestead Acts did encourage women and Black Americans to access free Federal lands, allowing some to realize a free and better future, such as idealized in Flyin' West.


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

Christmas Bingo, It's a Ho-Ho-Holy Night 2018-11-16 - Christmas Bingo: It's a Ho-Ho-Holy Night returns to the Royal George Theatre for 2018 for the holiday season. Did Santa babysit ...


Gay News

Victory Gardens, Actors Theatre of Louisville present How to Defend Yourself 2018-11-16 - Chicago, IL— Victory Gardens Theater, with Actors Theatre of Louisville, to present the Co-World Premiere of How to Defend Yourself, written by Lily ...


Gay News

Chicago Dramatists has leadership changes 2018-11-14 - Chicago Dramatists announced it has accepted the resignation of Executive Director Vanessa Bamber. Bamber will continue in her position until Dec. 31, according ...


Gay News

Sophia Petrillo Italian Dinner and Talent Show to benefit Hell in a Handbag 2018-11-14 - CHICAGO ( November 13, 2018 ) — Join Dorothy, Rose, Blanche and Sophia for Hell in a Handbag Productions' annual benefit, The Sophia ...


Gay News

GUEST COLUMN Battling Trump via art, an actor's superpower 2018-11-14 - Let's acknowledge one thing, after two years of misery: Our president is not stupid. He is not an idiot or moron. In ...


Gay News

YEPP's 'Rise Up' taking place Nov. 14 2018-11-14 - In recognition of the Transgender Day of Remembrance/Resilience and Youth Homelessness Awareness Month, Youth Empowerment Performance Project ( YEPP ) will host "Rise ...


Gay News

Ike Holter: The 'Right(lynd)' stuff 2018-11-14 - Last week's midterm elections taught us that political engagement is more crucial than ever. This makes Ike Holter's Rightlynd—opening this week at ...


Gay News

'Santuario' readings Nov. 16-18 at Piven 2018-11-13 - Evanston's Piven Theatre Workshop, 927 Noyes St., will present a staged reading of Santuario/Sanctuary on Nov. 16-18. Santuario/Sanctuary is a bilingual documentary theater ...


Gay News

Intersectional team creates change in 'The Revolutionists 2018-11-13 - The Revolutionists, opening at Strawdog Theatre in mid-November, may center on the concerns of 18th-century women during the Reign of Terror, but Lauren ...


Gay News

'TransScripts' brings lives of transgender women into the light 2018-11-13 - In the shadow of President Trump's alleged memo that seeks to define them out of existence by declaring that gender is immutable from ...


 



Copyright © 2018 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


 



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      Post 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 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.