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 2019-02-13
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage



Second Skin
by Kerry Reid

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Playwright: Kristin Idaszak

At: The Den, 1333 N. Milwaukee Ave. Tickets:; $15-$30. Runs through: Oct. 13

If you were going to give the elevator pitch version of Kristin Idaszak's Second Skin, now in a world premiere with WildClaw Theatre, you might well go with "It's The Secret of Roan Inish meets Conor McPherson." This despite the fact that Idaszak's atmospheric tale takes place nowhere near the Irish settings of either John Sayles' 1994 movie or playwright McPherson's dramas.

But in subject matter and structure, the parallels are irresistible. Yet Idaszak's play, by focusing on the parallel yet alienated lives of women who are related to each other—but cannot relate to each other—adds a welcome twist of realism to the mysterious.

Sayles' magic realist film was about a young girl in an Irish fishing village who is convinced her baby brother was stolen away by a mythical half-human, half-seal creature called a "selkie." McPherson has long been lauded for his use of interlocking monologues and use of supernatural tales as a way of exploring grief and loss. That's the way Idaszak tells her ghostly and poignant story about the fragile but persistent bonds of sisters, mothers and daughters.

Quinn ( Stephanie Shum ) fled her small seaside home as soon as she was able. She's run away from the mother whose nameless fears kept both of them shut away inside their home. But now her mom, Sigrid ( Paula Ramirez )—whose name conveniently rhymes with "secret"—is suffering from ALS and needs her daughter's help. A chance meeting with a woman in a bar sets off a series of revelations about Sigrid's long-lost sister, Aislinn ( Hilary Williams ).

The stranger reminds Quinn of a chance encounter on a beach when she was quite young—an encounter that started her mother on the path of overprotectiveness that Quinn resists. In the second monologue, Sigrid fills us in on who that stranger is ( spoiler alert: it's Aislinn ) and the guilt she still feels for what happened to her. In the third part, Aislinn emerges from behind the large round window at the center of Lizzie Bracken's set ( which looks like a ghostly pier ) and tells her side of the story. ( Sarah D. Espinoza's sound design provides otherworldly mournful notes, while Kaili Story's lights add a sense of being underwater. )

The main details of the intertwined narratives don't really conflict—but the emotions do. Jess Hutchinson's staging gives each actor breathing room to grow their tale, trusting that we'll follow them through the mists of the past and let us empathize with all three women. It's not, perhaps, as dark or gory a tale as some past WildClaw efforts. But it slowly exudes a clammy sense of dread and sorrow as the women confront interior ghosts of guilt, regret and retribution that are harder to shake than any spirits in the night.

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.


Gay News

THEATER REVIEW The Total Bent 2019-02-15 - Authors: Stew and Heidi Rodewald At: The Den Theatre, 1616 N. Wells St. Tickets:; $35. Runs through: March 10 ...

Gay News

THEATER REVIEW Fulfillment Center 2019-02-13 - Playwright: Abe Koogler At: A Red Orchid Theatre, 1531 N. Wells St. Tickets: $30-40; Runs through: March 24 These ...

Gay News

Nederlander Theatre lights marquee 2019-02-13 - Broadway In Chicago's newly named James M. Nederlander Theatre recently lit its marquee for the first time. The venue, at 24 W. ...

Gay News

The Jeff Awards to present panel on Latinx Theater 2019-02-12 - February 12, 2019, Chicago, IL - The Jeff Awards meeting on Monday, February 18, 2019 at the Greenhouse Theater will include a panel ...

Gay News

SPOTLIGHT on Underscore Theatre's Chicago Musical Theatre Festival 2019-02-12 - Is the next Hamilton lurking in Chicago? Stranger things have happened. Underscore Theatre's ambitious 5th Annual Chicago Musical Theatre Festival includes nine concert ...

Gay News

Critics' Picks 2019-02-12 - A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder, Porchlight Music Theatre at the Ruth Page Auditorium, through March 16. A score that hearkens to ...

Gay News

THEATER REVIEW A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder 2019-02-12 - Playwright: Book by Robert L. Freedman, music by Steven Lutvak, lyrics by Robert L. Freedman and Steven Lutvak At: Porchlight Music Theater at ...

Gay News

THEATER REVIEW Pipeline 2019-02-12 - Playwright: Dominique Morisseau At: Victory Gardens Theater, 2433 N. Lincoln Ave.. Tickets: $27-60; . Runs through: March 3 Thinking about ...

Gay News

Afterglow opening at Pride Arts Center March 27 2019-02-09 - Chicago, IL - Casting for the Chicago Premiere of AFTERGLOW, an off-Broadway hit from 2017 exploring the emotional, intellectual, and physical connections between ...

Gay News

Pride Films and Plays offers Buyer & Cellar, comedy of life in Streisand's basement 2019-02-09 - Pride Films and Plays will mount Jonathan Tolin's one-man play BUYER & CELLAR in the Broadway Theater of the Pride Arts Center, according ...


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.