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 2019-11-13
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

THEATER Dana H.
by Jonathan Abarbanel, Windy City Times
2019-09-21

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Playwright: Lucas Hnath

At: Goodman Theatre, 170 N. Dearborn St. Tickets: 312-443-3800; GoodmanTheatre.org; $15-$45. Runs through: Oct. 20

Your mother is a non-denominational chaplain who counsels hospice patients and occasional psych ward inmates, among the latter a murderer and Aryan Brotherhood hero who attempted suicide in prison. When Cowboy Jim is released, your mother hosts him for Christmas and helps him secure an apartment.

Now imagine this: after another suicide attempt, Cowboy Jim kidnaps, brutalizes and rapes your mother while keeping her captive for five months. He returns to criminal violence, claiming enemies are pursuing them from cheap motel to motel, and he's protecting your Mom. You are away at college and know nothing of this until much later.

Lucas Hnath, now 40 years old and an exceptional playwright, didn't have to imagine. It really happened to his mother, Dana Higgenbotham, in 1997 beginning in Orlando, Florida.

Many of Hnath's plays are deep explorations of contemporary American culture and Dana H. is one of them. It's a truly terrifying account of a Fascist criminal underbelly within The Land of the Free and the indifference—if not actual complicity—of police who refused to serve or protect Dana despite repeated appeals to them. Eventually Dana believed that Cowboy Jim was a police informant, which is why cops exchanged smiles and pats on the back with him and left him alone.

It's also possible the cops were terrified of him. Dana saw how he was lionized by bikers, bar owners, some motel managers, etc. throughout Florida and the Carolinas in a widespread violent, vengeful network.

But Dana H. isn't about the police or our justice system. It's about the journey of Dana herself, who managed to survive double horrors. First, she endured a Born Again upbringing in which her parents literally beat the Devil out of her from age three, yet she emerged with an independent faith she used as a counsellor. Second, she survived Cowboy Jim with that faith somehow intact.

Dana H. employs an unusual technique. It's a one-woman show with expressive Deirdre O'Connell as Dana, but she never speaks a word. Instead, O'Connell lip syncs to Dana's actual voice, narrating her story to an interviewer. Lucas Hnath then edited hours of tape into an 80-minute unified dramatic tale. Hnath never comments on or judges his mother's account, not even why she didn't return home for two-and-a-half years after escaping Cowboy Jim.

Is it really a play if there's no playwright's voice or perspective? Isn't it just a staged form of narrative non-fiction? These are legit questions, and yet the powerful story and unusual technique mesmerize. O'Connell is detailed and natural as can be, directed by Les Waters. Above all, Dana H. cautions us about a vicious, gun-fueled subculture which lives—even thrives—among us.


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

THEATER REVIEW Waiting for Godot 2019-11-19 - Author: Samuel Beckett At: Victory Gardens Theater, 2433 N Lincoln Ave. Tickets: VictoryGardens.org or 773-871-3000; $20-$40. Runs through: Dec. 15 For ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ Megan Rapinoe, 'High School Musical,' Roxane Gay, 'Paris Is Burning' 2019-11-18 - Soccer star Megan Rapinoe accepted Glamour's Woman of the Year award—another addition to her hardware collection that includes the Golden Ball award as ...


Gay News

YEPP holds second annual 'Rise Up' event 2019-11-16 - Youth Empowerment Performance Project ( YEPP ) held its second annual Rise Up: A Celebration of Resilience Nov. 13 at Chicago Theater Works. ...


Gay News

THEATER REVIEW Rutherford and Son 2019-11-16 - Playwright: Githa Sowerby At: Timeline Theatre Company at Baird Hall, 615 W. Wellington Ave. Tickets: TimelineTheatre.com and 773-281-8463; $42. Runs through: Jan. 12 ...


Gay News

Opera Review Don Giovanni 2019-11-15 - Score: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart; Libretto: Lorenzo Da Ponte At: Lyric Opera of Chicago, 20 N. Wacker Drive. Tickets: 312-827-5600 or LyricOpera.org; $39-$299.. Runs ...


Gay News

THEATER SPOTLIGHT Always … Patsy Cline 2019-11-15 - Back then, stars traveled without entourages, stayed at motels, flew single engine planes and were easier to meet. Houston housewife Louise Seger met ...


Gay News

THEATER REVIEW Packing 2019-11-13 - Playwright: Scott Bradley At: About Face Theatre at Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont Ave. Tickets: 773-975-8150 or AboutFaceTheatre.com; $20-$38. Runs through Dec. 7 ...


Gay News

THEATER REVIEW Romeo and Juliet 2019-11-13 - Playwright: William Shakespeare At: Chicago Shakespeare Theater at Navy Pier, 800 E. Grand Ave. Tickets: ChicagoShakes.com 312-595-5600; $35-$90. Runs through: Dec. 22 ...


Gay News

THEATER REVIEW P.Y.G. or The Mis-Edumacation of Dorian Belle 2019-11-13 - Playwright: Tearrance Arvelle Chisolm At: Jackalope Theatre Company @ Broadway Armory Park, 5917 N. Broadway. Tickets: JackalopeTheatre.org; $27-$35. Runs through: Dec. 21 ...


Gay News

Critics' Picks 2019-11-13 - The Effect, Strawdog Theatre Company, through Nov. 23: Is love in the brain or in the mind, playwright Lucy Prebble asks, and can ...


 



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 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.