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 2020-06-24
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News  Entertainment Features Donate Bars & Clubs Calendar Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

SCOTTISH PLAY SCOTT Lorraine Hansberry and Five Lesbian Brothers get new productions
by Scott C. Morgan, Windy City Times
2016-05-04

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Two theater directors currently working in Chicago are on a mission. Their goal: To expose audiences to plays that they both feel are wrongfully neglected and to rethink playwrights who have been pigeonholed.

Out director Bonnie Metzgar is doing her part to highlight the satiric and subversive feminist work of the collective known as The Five Lesbian Brothers by staging the Chicago premiere of their 1994 off-Broadway comedy The Secretaries, for About Face Theatre. Meanwhile, director Anne Kauffman wants to change perceptions of the late lesbian playwright Lorraine Hansberry by staging her 1964 Broadway drama The Sign in Sidney Brustein's Window in a high-profile production at the Goodman Theatre.

"I've known The Five Lesbian Brothers all through their career," said Metzgar, reflecting upon her own New York theater origins before moving to Chicago to become About Face's artistic director from 2008 to 2013. ( Metzgar is also finishing out as interim artistic director for American Theater Company before handing off the job to Will Davis. )

Consisting of the writer/performers Maureen Angelos, Babs Davy, Dominque Dibbell, Peg Healy and Lisa Kron ( a recent Tony winner for co-authoring the hit Broadway musical Fun Home ), The Five Lesbian Brothers collaborated on many plays starting in the late 1980s before their final collaboration in 2005 called Oedipus in Palm Springs.

"They should be considered part of the cannon of American dramatic literature," said Metzgar, likening the works of The Five Lesbian Brothers to the better-known gay camp creations of the late Charles Ludlam and The Ridiculous Theatre Company.

"Probably because [The Five Lesbian Brothers] did originate all these parts and they're so identified them, we don't think of their text as really great plays," Metzgar said. "So I'm excited to have a group of professional actors work on this text, because it can stand up against any of Charles Ludlam's plays."

Set in 1993, The Secretaries pokes fun at extreme feminist activism and also how the media was bombarding women with dieting products at the time. Metzgar also added that there's a heavy influence of David Lynch's TV series Twin Peaks on the play's tone.

"It's a secretarial pool at a lumber mill, and it's absurdist in that they have a club that all the secretaries belong to and once a month—on the event of having their menstrual periods—they secretly kill a lumberjack," Metzgar said. "As like a sacrificial killing, that is all the energy they store up because they withhold so much from themselves" because they can't eat due to their strict dieting routines.

Although The Five Lesbian Brothers' work has been well-respected in New York, their plays aren't as well-known or produced around the country on the level of their 1980s and '90s LGBTQ contemporaries like Terrence McNally or Paul Rudnick. By staging The Secretaries for About Face, Metzgar hopes to do her part in changing that perception around.

Although not a lesbian, director Anne Kauffman has said she loves the collaborative works of The Five Lesbian Brothers. That's due in part to her own involvement in another New York writing/performing theater collective known as The Civilians.

But now Kauffman is making a case for The Sign in Sidney Brustein's Window, which closed on Broadway just days before Hansberry's 1965 death from cancer. The Sign… confounded many audiences at the time because it was so different from Hansberry's monumentally acclaimed African-American family drama A Raisin in the Sun.

"[The Sign…] was ahead of its times in a lot of ways. One of the things that I think was difficult for critics and certain members of the audience was that Lorraine Hansberry was writing about white people," Kauffman said. "I think it's still true today that we ghettoize our writers of color by thinking that they should only be writing about race."

There were also issues of Hansberry's writing experiments in form and style for the creation of The Sign… It stretches to embrace both realism and absurdism, which Kauffman feels would be seen as post-modern by today's audiences.

Set in the early 1960s in New York's bohemian neighborhood of Greenwich Village, The Sign… focuses on the contentious relationship between the title writer character and his struggling actress wife, Iris, as they get swept up in the radical and social issues of the day.

"It's about a married couple who is growing apart without noticing it," Kauffman said. "That emotional personal core is what initially drew me to the piece,"

Also in the mix is an abrasive gay playwright, an African-American activist and a moralizing politician whose speechifying Kauffman says is unfortunately relevant in light of the current U.S. presidential primaries.

"[At the play's core] is a call for action—a call for commitment and recommitment," Kauffman said. "Socially, politically and personally, I think Lorraine is telling the story of a marriage where they have to actually recommit to one another and fight for what they want and what they believe in."

The Sign in Sidney Brustein's Window continues through Sunday, June 5, at the Goodman Theatre, 170 N. Dearborn St. Previews continue through Sunday, May 8, with an official press opening 7 p.m. Monday, May 9. Tickets are $25-$75; call 312-443-3800 or visit GoodmanTheatre.org .

About Face Theatre's Chicago premiere of The Secretaries by The Five Lesbian Brothers plays from Friday, May 6, through Sunday, June 12, at Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont Ave. Preview tickets are $20 and $10 for seniors and students. Regular-run performances are $35 ( $20 for students and seniors ). For more information, call 773-975-8150 or visit AboutFaceTheatre.org .


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

Broadway suspends shows through 2020 2020-06-30 - The Broadway League announced June 29 that Broadway performances in New York City will be suspended through the remainder of 2020 due to ...


Gay News

'Magic Parlour at Home' during July 2020-06-28 - Magician Dennis Watkins is taking his experience The Magic Parlour online for a completely new virtual offering dubbed "The Magic Parlour at Home." ...


Gay News

CHF talk to feature Abby McEnany and Samantha Irby 2020-06-24 - Actor Abby McEnany and writer Samantha Irby will have a conversation in a Chicago Humanities Festival digital program that will take place Thursday, ...


Gay News

THEATER Despite everything, there are shows for Pride Week 2020-06-24 - It's almost impossible to write about the indelible events of 2020 ( which is still not quite half over ) without diminishing them. ...


Gay News

Raven Theatre names new managing director 2020-06-24 - Following a nationwide search, Raven Theatre's board of directors announced Markie Gray as the company's new managing director, effective July 1. Originally from ...


Gay News

47th Non-Equity Jeff Awards announces honorees 2020-06-22 - June 22, 2020 — Chicago — As part of the annual recognition of theater excellence, the 47th Non-Equity Jeff Awards has announced honorees ...


Gay News

'That's Queer, Grandma' June 22-July 6 2020-06-17 - PlayMakers Laboratory ( PML ) celebrates Pride Month virtually with a free presentation of That's Queer, Grandma—a romp through student-written stories that at ...


Gay News

COVID-19 Mercury Theater permanently closing 2020-06-17 - Executive Director L. Walter Stearns and partner, business manager Eugene Dizon, announced the permanent closure of Mercury Theater Chicago after 10 years and ...


Gay News

The Last Sunday in June online live reading June 28 2020-06-16 - Chicago, IL - Jonathan Tolins' look at gay life in the 1990s - THE LAST SUNDAY IN JUNE — will be performed via ...


Gay News

'Christmas Bingo: Summer Edition' online through July 2020-06-16 - Christmas Bingo: Summer Edition—written by Vicki Quade, one of the creators of the hit comedy Late Nite Catechism—is streaming through Friday, July 31. ...


 



Copyright © 2020 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


 



About WCMG Publications News  Entertainment Features Donate Bars & Clubs Calendar 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.