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 2018-09-19
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

THEATER 'Gentleman Caller' explores intersection of art, sexuality
By Regina Victor
2018-04-04

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Director Cody Estle and playwright Philip Dawkins laugh and vibe like old friends and frequent collaborators, finishing each other's sentences and feeding off of each other's energy. Their camaraderie bodes well for The Gentleman Caller, Dawkins' new play about a fateful encounter between playwrights Tennessee Williams and William Inge. Directed by Estle, the world premiere opens April 6 at Edgewater's Raven Theatre.

As Dawkins and Estle explain it, Gentleman Caller brings a queer lens to the lives of Inge ( Bus Stop, Picnic ) and Williams ( Streetcar Named Desire, The Glass Menagerie. ) At the heart of Dawkins' play is an examination of queerness, history, art and the intersection of all three.

Commissioned by Raven, Dawkins is the author of such acclaimed dramas as Charm and The Homosexuals. He wrote Gentleman Caller with an eye on Raven's longstanding history of producing classics from the mid-20th century, many Williams' works among them. Dawkins wanted to bring contemporary relevance to Williams and Inge's work, without erasing their roots in the past.

"That is our American history, that's Raven's history. ( H )ow do I acknowledge that and say let's move further into today with that conversation?," Dawkins asked.

Dawkins' commission was sparked by Raven's founders, Michael Menendian and JoAnn Montemurro. Estle served as Associate Artistic Director for years during their tenure, including when The Gentleman Caller was in its earliest discussions. Menendian and Montemurro stepped down last summer, when Estle was named Raven's new artistic director. The Gentleman Caller will be Estle's first production in the position.

In an era when queer legacies are bring forged by today's artists, The Gentleman Caller offers a reexamination of history. The play explores the relationship between creativity and desire, whether that desire is suppressed or expressed.

Like the collages and shadow boxes of artist Joseph Cornell, the boxy set for The Gentleman Caller evokes far more than a simple structure of right angles.

"What does it mean to be inside of that box and what does it mean to step out of that box, be seen or not seen?" Estle said. Dawkins likens the set to Cornell's evocative pieces: "They're like these shadowboxes, and life happens inside them."

Raven isn't the first to see Inge through a queer lens. Last summer, Will Davis' gender-defying production of Picnic at the ( now-closed ) American Theatre Company earned heaps of critical acclaim. Both ATC's Picnic and Raven's The Gentleman Caller approach Inge's closeted queerness, but in drastically different ways. Dawkins detailed the core of his approach:

"This is a room where as far as Inge knows, there are only queer men in this room. He would not say queer, there are only 'inverts' in this room, there are only men who are 'afflicted' in this room. He would have used any of cultural shaming language around that existed to make him feel bad.

"That culture of pushing queer people down [still] exists still but doesn't quite permeate in the way that it was inescapable for people like Inge and Williams," Dawkins said. "If you weren't of a constitution like Williams where you could drink enough or 'art enough' to where you could tell the world to go take a flying leap, then you were stuck to being constantly pounded down. Where could you go to escape it?" Dawkins added.

"We have seen often this story of being met with persecution on the outside, but we see less often the stories where the antagonism is on the inside," Dawkins said. "When we're the only people here and we are the only queer people how do we get rid of that antagonism? How do we leave it outside? Can we? In the way that I don't think queer communities can exist without pride I also wonder if they can exist without shame," he said.

"For these two men in particular it has to do with how necessary queerness is [to] artistry," Dawkins said. There's a line in the play that asks where a heterosexual could have written either the Bible or Marcel Proust's Remembrance of Things Passed. Dawkins thinks the answer is 'no."

Queer folx are "constantly positioning themselves against social constructs," he explained. "To me, that's the heart of queerness," he said. "Whether you're a woman sleeping with a woman or a trans* person, if you are positioning yourself against the social constructs that have been put on you, then you are a queer person moving through the world in a queer way. And that lends itself to an artistic world."

The Gentleman Caller runs April 6-May 27 at Raven Theatre, 6157 N. Clark St. Tickets are $38-$41, and $15 for students, seniors, vets, active military. For more information, call 773-338-2177 or go to RavenTheatre.com .


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

Arms and the Man 2018-09-19 - Playwright: George Bernard Shaw At: City Lit Theatre, 1055 W. Bryn Mawr Ave. Tickets: City:Lit.org; $32. Runs through: Oct. 21 This 1894 ...


Gay News

Odessa 2018-09-19 - Playwright: Michaela Heidemann At: Otherworld Theatre, 3914 N. Clark St. Tickets: theRBP.org; $10-$20. Runs through: Oct. 6 The Ukrainian city of ...


Gay News

Second Skin 2018-09-19 - Playwright: Kristin Idaszak At: The Den, 1333 N. Milwaukee Ave. Tickets: WildclawTheatre.com; $15-$30. Runs through: Oct. 13 If you were going ...


Gay News

FALL THEATER PREVIEW Multicultural world premieres dot fall theater season 2018-09-19 - "Yo, what's up, white people?" chirps a character in the first minutes of Qui Nguyen's Vietgone [running at Writers Theater through Sept. 23], ...


Gay News

The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia? 2018-09-19 - Playwright: Edward Albee At: Interrobang Theatre Project at Rivendell Theatre, 5779 N. Ridge Ave. Tickets: $32; InterrobangTheatre.org 312-219-4140. Runs through: Oct. 6 ...


Gay News

Crime and Punishment 2018-09-19 - Playwright: Chris Hannan, adapted from Dostoevsky At: Shattered Globe Theatre at Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont Ave. Tickets: 773-975-8150; ShatteredGlobe.org; $39. Runs through: ...


Gay News

Tangles and Plaques 2018-09-19 - Playwright: Kirsten Riiber At: The Neo-Futurists at The Neo-Futurarium, 5153 N. Ashland Ave. Tickets: $10-25; https://neofuturists.org; 773-878-4557. Runs through: Sept. 29 ...


Gay News

Critics' Pics 2018-09-19 - Radio Golf, Court Theatre, through Sept. 30. A gifted cast and director bring power to August Wilson's final play, concerning African-American upward mobility ...


Gay News

Little Shop of Horrors 2018-09-19 - Playwright: Alan Menken ( composer ), Howard Ashman ( book and lyrics ). At: Drury Lane Theatre, 100 Drury Lane, Oakbrook Terrace. ...


Gay News

Scraps 2018-09-19 - Adapted by Anthony Whitaker At: The Den Theatre, 1333 N. Milwaukee Ave. Tickets: $25; TheDenTheatre.com; 773-935-6875. Runs through: Sept. 29 One ...


 



Copyright © 2018 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.