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 2019-01-09
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

Sponsor
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

Digital lottery, rush tickets for 'Fiddler' 2019-02-02 - Broadway In Chicago announced that there will be a digital lottery and rush tickets for the Broadway revival of Fiddler on the Roof, ...


Gay News

Carol Channing dies at 97 2019-01-15 - Broadway legend Carol Channing—who was known for her signature lead role in the Jerry Herman musical Hello, Dolly! and who continued performing into ...


Gay News

LGBTQ performance of "I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change" one night Feb. 9 2019-01-15 - Chicago Theatre Workshop ( CTW ) with permission from authors, Joe DiPietro and Jimmy Roberts will present a one-night only LGBTQ performance of ...


Gay News

Broadway's Corey Cott, Mikaela Bennett to lead Lyric Opera's West Side Story 2019-01-12 - CHICAGO ( January 9, 2019 )—Acclaimed Broadway performer Corey Cott and rising star Mikaela Bennett will headline Lyric Opera of Chicago's premiere of ...


Gay News

Victory Gardens Theater to premiere If I Forget 2019-01-11 - Chicago, IL— Artistic Director Chay Yew and Managing Director Erica Daniels announce an addition to the 2018-2019 Victory Gardens season—the Chicago Premiere of ...


Gay News

Hell in a Handbag presents Golden Girls, The Lost episodes, Valentine edition 2019-01-09 - CHICAGO ( January 8, 2019 ) — Chicago's favorite drag seniors start 2019 with LOVE in Hell in a Handbag Productions' beloved parody ...


Gay News

Novelist's fascination with history comes alive on stage 2019-01-09 - Novelist Emma Donoghue has had a long and rewarding relationship with Regency historical figure Anne Lister. Lister created a series of coded ...


Gay News

About Face heats January with 'Dada Woof Papa Hot' 2019-01-08 - Hot from the hands of writer Peter Parnell and director Keira Fromm comes a new About Face Theatre ( AFT ) take on ...


Gay News

Critics' Picks 2019-01-08 - Familiar, Steppenwolf Theatre, through Jan. 13. The wedding party includes three generations, two races ( one, South African immigrants ), it's snowing and ...


Gay News

'OUT on Stage' Jan. 17 on Dekkoo 2019-01-08 - OUT on Stage: The Series will debut Thursday, Jan. 17, on LGBT subscription-based streaming network Dekkoo. Zach Noe Towers hosts the show, which ...


 



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      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.