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 2018-12-12
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

THEATER REVIEW Father Comes Home from the Wars, Parts 1, 2, & 3
by Catey Sullivan
2018-06-12

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Playwright: Suzan-Lori Parks

At: Goodman Owen Theatre, 170 N. Dearborn St. Tickets: 312-443-3800; GoodmanTheatre.org; $10-$40.Runs through: June 24

Playwright Suzan-Lori Parks has created worlds within worlds in the sweeping Father Comes Home From the Wars ( Parts 1, 2 & 3 ). Set during the Civil War but harkening back to the millennia-old dramas penned at the dawn of the art form, Father Comes Home is at once a historical piece, uncompromisingly contemporary and as ancient as the epic poems of Homer. In the three-hour and 15-intermisison ( two intermission ) epic, Parks weaves storytelling harsh as a wound and as beautiful as blood and bone. In director Niegel Smith's intricate work, the production pulses like a heartbeat.

At the heart of this multi-faceted odyssey is Hero ( Kamal Angelo Bolden ), a slave owned by an unnamed Colonel ( William Dick ) so cruel and thick-skulled he could've just stepped out of a Faulkner novel. Broken into roughly 55 minute segments, Homer's journey unfolds as triptych of consecutive events. Part I ( Measure of a Man ) shows Hero trying to decide whether to go to war for the South, as the Colonel's servant. The Colonel promised freedom in exchange, provided they both make it out alive.

Part 2 ( A Battle in the Wilderness ) unfolds in a camp where the Colonel has a captured and caged union officer named Smith ( Demetrios Troy ). By firelight, the three create a microcosm of race relations in the wider world. In Part 3, ( The Union of My Confederate States ), Hero has returned to the plantation and his beloved Penny ( Aime Donna Kelly ), copy of the Emancipation Proclamation in his pocket.

The parallels between Park's Hero and Homer's Ulysses run deep and are sometimes positively cheeky in their obviousness ( there's a cross-eyed dog named Odd See brought to adorably anthropomorphic life by BrittanyLove Smith ) at other times as subtle as a glimmer. There is also a marvelous Chorus ( Led by Jacqueline Williams and featuring Sydney Charles, Ronald L. Conner and Michael Aaron Pogue. ) that sets the show in motion and provides unflinching insights into Hero's character.

Sprawling but intensely intimate, Hero's store unfolds with vivid, often shocking plot twists that reveal the all-but unbearable savagery of slavery. Hero is forced to make choices of impossible cruelty. These come into sharp relief the twined story of Homer ( a righteously seething Jaime Lincoln Smith ), a former runaway who paid a literal pound of flesh for his brief escape. Hero's story makes it heartbreakingly clear that being a hero—or even a decent person—is a luxury if you're in bondage. His first act exile has the feel of an ancient religious ritual. It's wordless, eerie percussive cadence will haunt you.

Bolden is a magnetic force, capturing the cataclysmic contradictions warring within a man forced to commit unforgivable sins in order to simply survive. In the final third of Father Comes Home, he reveals flaws that have defined feckless, disrespectful men for millennia. As his beloved Penny, Kelly nails the devotion and the anguish of a woman forced to endure the bitterest of betrayals.

Playing out on scenic designer Courtney O'Neill's flexible set, the action moves with supple ease from plantation to war camp and back.

Smith's supporting cast is well worthy of Parks' near-hypnotically compelling dialogue. Troy is wondrous as Smith, the Colonel's union prisoner. He has a huge reveal in his single, mesmerizing scene and it is somehow as stunning as a thunderclap and ( the more you ponder it ) not at all surprising.

Linda Cho's costumes—from the sweat-stained American flag rags borne by a crew of vaudeville-sequel runways to the ridiculously outsized feather plume in the Colonel's hat—are both historically accurate and profoundly symbolic. Lighting designer Keith Parham's evocative palette completes the stage pictures with a beauty that complement the story without distracting from it. And as the Oldest Old Man on the plantation, Ernest Perry Jr. speaks in profundities without coming anywhere near the hoary stereotype of the wise old man.

At over three hours, Father Comes Home feels like 30 minutes. Every second is vital.


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

The Play That Goes Wrong 2018-12-12 - Playwright: Henry Lewis, Jonathan Sayer and Henry Shields At: Oriental Theatre, 24 W. Randolph St. Tickets: BroadwayInChicago.com . Runs through: Dec. 16. ...


Gay News

Hedwig' tour in Chicago in 2019 2018-12-12 - John Cameron Mitchell—the Tony-winning, Golden Globe-nominated co-creator of Hedwig & the Angry Inch—will bring his rock spectacle to the United States for the ...


Gay News

The Second City 107th Mainstage Revue, Algorithm Nation or The Static Quo 2018-12-11 - Writers: Ryan Asher, Tyler Davis, Jeffrey Murdoch, Emma Pope, Nate Varrone, Kimberly Michelle Vaughn At: The Second City Mainstage, 1616 N. Wells ...


Gay News

T.R. Knight talks about upcoming 'Dream' role 2018-12-11 - T.R. Knight might still be best known for his five-season run as Dr. George O'Malley on ABC's Grey's Anatomy—and for the infamous 2007 ...


Gay News

Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins 2018-12-10 - Author: Michael Daily, from the book by Eric Kimmel At: Strawdog Theatre, 1802 W. Berenice Ave. Tickets: strawdog.org; $20-$25. Runs through: Jan. 5 ...


Gay News

The Santaland Diaries 2018-12-10 - Playwright: Steve Scott, adapted from the essay by David Sedaris At: Goodman Theatre, 170 N. Dearborn St. Tickets: $15-45; GoodmanTheatre.org . Runs through: ...


Gay News

Critics' Picks 2018-12-10 - Buttcracker: A Nutcracker Burlesque, ( Sub )version Productions at Reggie's Music Joint, through Dec. 26. Fan-dancing snowflakes, a glass-eating "Calavera Catrina" and a ...


Gay News

Stomp 2018-12-10 - By: Luke Cresswell and Steve MacNicholas At: Broadway Playhouse at Water Tower Place, 175 E. Chestnut St.. Tickets: BroadwayInChicago.com; $39-$84. Runs through: Dec. ...


Gay News

Les Miserables comes to Cadillac Palace Theatre July 2019 2018-12-10 - CHICAGO ( December 10, 2018 ) Cameron Mackintosh's acclaimed production of Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schonberg's Tony Award-winning musical phenomenon, Les Miserables, will ...


Gay News

Twelfth Night 2018-12-10 - Playwright: William Shakespeare At: Writers Theatre, 325 Tudor Ct., Glencoe. Tickets: 847-242-6000; WritersTheatre.org; $35-$80. Runs through: Dec. 16 In Shakespeare's mostly rollicking ...


 



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


 



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.