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 2019-07-10
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage



Mansfield Park
by Lauren Emily Whalen

facebook twitter google +1 reddit email

Playwright: Kate Hamill

At: Northlight Theatre, 9501 Skokie Blvd., Skokie. Tickets: $30-88; Runs through: Dec. 16

What is the price of passivity?

Fanny Price ( Kayla Carter ) isn't allowed to say no. From childhood, when she's taken from her squalid home and placed with relatives at a massive country estate, she must talk, walk and dress like the rich. That's not to say Fanny is accepted by her family: with one notable exception, everyone treats her as a lifelong charity case. When it comes time for Fanny to make real choices, does she draw on her carefully guarded morality or continue to be a well-dressed doormat?

Maybe not your typical image of a Jane Austen story.

But Mansfield Park is exactly that. Austen's third novel has plenty of romance, intrigue and beautiful dresses, but also explores the cost of living large through the eyes of the watchful, sensitive Fanny. Acclaimed playwright Kate Hamill brings this world premiere adaptation to Northlight Theatre, and also acts in the production as Fanny's foil, gossipy socialite Mary Crawford. Though Mansfield Park's first act runs a bit long, Hamill's script coupled with Stuart Carden's direction eclipses the simple delights and biting social commentary of Austen's writing, updating certain aspects of the story while remaining true.

Hamill, one of the most-produced playwrights in the United States, has previously adapted Austen's Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility. Her love of Austen is apparent in every hushed lovers' conversation and piece of witty banter. What sets Hamill apart from other Austen adaptors is her ability to go one step further, setting a feminist tone that the author would likely love. Hamill's Mansfield Park further explores every woman's limited ability to say "no" in polite society, as well as the dark secrets behind most every wealthy family. Someone has to pay for those large houses and pretty clothes, after all.

Director Carden stages Mansfield Park like an elaborate dance: transitions involve quick steps and rolling furniture pieces, and ballroom scenes are beautifully enhanced with Steph Paul's movement direction and Andrew Hansen's original score. The effect is both cinematic and theatrical, embodying the choreography the upper class must learn to keep up appearances and keep away demons, with varying degrees of success. Izumi Inaba's costumes are breathtaking, particularly symbolic animal disguises for act one's masquerade ball, the pastel floral gowns of Fanny's spoiled cousin Mariah ( Anu Bhatt ) and Fanny's beloved gold heart necklace, a gift from her brother and the one talisman she holds onto through the years.

As always, Northlight attracts actors who are the best of the best. Hamill's Mary is a standout, as is Nate Burger as Mary's roguish brother Henry, who decides to pursue Fanny as a way to amuse himself. Gabriel Ruiz's Edmund, Fanny's cousin and ally, is both gracious and gallant, and Bhatt's Mariah hilariously shallow. Only Carter seems a bit out of her element as Fanny, stumbling through her dialect and emotional arc as everyone else acts circles around her. Hiccups aside, Northlight's Mansfield Park is well worth the trip to Skokie: lush, gorgeous and surprisingly thought-provoking .

facebook twitter 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

THEATER The Music Man 2019-07-20 - Author: Meredith Wilson ( book, music & lyrics ) At: Goodman Theatre, 170 N. Dearborn. Tickets: 312-443-3800;; $25-$142. Runs through: Aug. 18 ...

Gay News

About Face Youth Theatre Ensemble'sm20th Anniversary: 20/20 2019-07-19 - CHICAGO — The About Face Youth Theatre Ensemble is celebrating its 20th anniversary with the world premiere of 20/20, an exhilarating dive into ...

Gay News

Sideshow Theatre Company 2019-20 season to premiere X, Pro-Am 2019-07-18 - CHICAGO ( July 17, 2019 ) — Sideshow Theatre Company is pleased to announce its 2019-20 Season, launching this fall with the U.S. ...

Gay News

Goodman Theatre announces 2019/2020 season 2019-07-18 - ( Chicago, IL ) Goodman Theatre announces the casting and creative teams for its 2019/2020 "Theater That Moves" Season openers. The season kicks-off ...

Gay News

THEATER True West 2019-07-17 - Playwright: Sam Shepard At: Steppenwolf Theatre, 1650 N. Halsted St. Tickets: Runs through: Aug. 25 What is the "true west?" Deserts ...

Gay News

First Floor Theater to begin Season 8 with Sugar in Our Wounds 2019-07-17 - By Donja R. Love, Directed by FFT Company Member Mikael Burke, October 19, 2019 - November 23, 2019 On a plantation during ...

Gay News

Promethean's 14th season to explore status of women, societies past, imagined 2019-07-17 - The rights and roles of women in society will be examined in Promethean Theatre Ensemble's 2019-20 season via three plays all penned or ...

Gay News

Barrel of Monkeys Presents Free Summer Workshops, Performances 2019-07-17 - CHICAGO ( July 16, 2019 ) — Barrel of Monkeys, one of Chicago's leaders in arts education, will present free creative writing workshops ...

Gay News

THEATER REVIEW Wolf Play 2019-07-17 - Playwright: Hansol Jung At: The Gift Theatre, 4802 N. Milwaukee, Chicago. Tickets: Runs through: Aug 18 The Gift Theatre's midwest premiere ...

Gay News

THEATER Strange Heart Beating 2019-07-16 - Playwright: Kristin Idaszak At: Cloudgate Theatre at the Frontier, 1106 W. Thorndale Ave. Tickets:; $5-$45. Runs through: July 28 There's potential for ...


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.







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 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.