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 2020-08-05
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News  Entertainment Features Donate Bars & Clubs Calendar Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

THEATER REVIEW Kentucky
by Mary Shen Barnidge
2019-10-30

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Playwright: Leah Nanako Winkler

At: The Gift Theatre at Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont Ave. Tickets: TheaterWit.org 773-975-8150; $42. Runs through: Nov. 16

When you think about people who live in rural Kentucky, do you visualize loud, vulgar, brawny, illiterate, bigoted, meth-smoking, moonshine-swilling yokels? When you think about people who live in New York City, is the image that comes to mind one of shallow, materialistic, mercurial, neurotic, pharma-popping, thrill-addicted, fossil fume-huffing urban chauvinists?

Leah Nanako Winkler's play features some of these archetypes, to be sure, but a writer who answers to a multi-ethnic surname and an origin story spanning Lexington, Kentucky, and Kamakura, Japan, is also likely to have some surprises up her sleeve. Corporate-wizard Hiro's reluctant return to her mountain home may appear to be occasioned by the wedding of her little sister Sophie to an African-American pastor's son, but to the runaway sibling, herself, it's a rescue mission.

That's just the premise, however. Over the course of the nuptial preparations, we learn that the clan patriarch's toxic misanthropy arises from an upbringing of corporal punishment administered by a maternal bully, generating denied guilt exacerbated by his marital-martyr Japanese-immigrant wife, and that most of Hiro's childhood companions have perished in car crashes and drug overdoses, their untimely deaths only serving to strengthen the survivors' endurance. Most important, we discover that the churchgoing groom and his devoutly Christian parents practice all that they preach, making for a protective stability that goes far in explaining the security Sophie derives from their unconditional acceptance—a security that Hiro continues to pursue in the Big Apple.

This isn't Osage County, though. The bouts of grim filial-wrestling share stage space with bursts of mid-speech soliloquy, song-and-dance interludes and a pair of bridesmaids who double as Greek chorus, scene-shifting stagehands, and various auxiliary characters. Let's not forget, either, meek mother Masako's beloved cat—played by the charming Martel Manning—to whom she croons, in her native language, the plaintive ballad "Ue O Muite Arukou" ( Anglophone audiences will recognize it, trust me. )

Winkler's parable dances between generational and cultural demographics with an agility that could easily dissolve into a farcical mash-up of cartoon stereotypes and Chick-tracts, but director Chika Ike and her ensemble-trained cast never succumb to the adrenal self-consciousness that so often infects actors forced to utter repugnant pronouncements. ( Paul D'Addario's Daddy James, in particular, has a meltdown scene that will spur you to wash out your ears with soap after the show ). Matching him decibel for vitriolic decibel is Emjoy Gavino's Hiro, sporting eyeglasses the size of Imax screens and an even bigger attitude. Don't discount the nuanced performances contributed by Hannah Toriumi as the quietly resolute Sophie and Helen Joo Lee as the deceptively self-effacing Masako.

Winkler endows her oft-misrepresented characters with unprejudiced warmth and compassion almost, but not quite, eclipsing the profound intelligence reflected beneath its sometimes-giddy presentation, so pay attention, you all.


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

Lookingglass hosting 'Eastland' watch party Aug. 20 2020-08-08 - Lookingglass Theatre Company will host a one-night watch party of Eastland: An Original Musical Watch Party, on Thursday, Aug. 20, at 7 p.m. ...


Gay News

American Blues kicks off reading series Aug. 7 with 'A Shot' 2020-08-06 - American Blues Theater ( ABT ), under the leadership of Artistic Director Gwendolyn Whiteside, announced "The Room"—a brand-new reading series that brings original ...


Gay News

Fellowship for local Black theater artists announced 2020-08-05 - The League of Chicago Theatres announced The Samuel G. Roberson Jr. Resident Fellowship, a grant to fund a residency for early to mid-career ...


Gay News

STREAMING THEATER REVIEW Alas: A Monologue from Matei Visniec's Cabaret of Words 2020-08-04 - Playwright: Matei Visniec, translation by Daniela Silindean. At: Trap Door Theatre streaming online . Tickets: TrapDoorTheatre.com; $10 suggested donation. Runs through: Sept. 4 ...


Gay News

About Face Theatre names new associate artistic director 2020-07-29 - About Face Theatre (AFT) welcomes Mikael Burke to its staff in the role of associate artistic director to lead AFT's education and new ...


Gay News

Greenhouse Theater stops creating shows 2020-07-28 - Greenhouse Theater Center co-owner William Spatz said July 27 that he no longer intends to produce theater at the multi-space Lincoln Park venue ...


Gay News

Oil Lamp Theater hosting drive-in premiere Aug. 7 2020-07-25 - Oil Lamp Theater Executive Director Jay Pastucha and Associate Artistic Director Stephen Smith announced Bad Dates, which will premiere Friday, Aug. 7, 6 ...


Gay News

Ruth Bader Ginsburg exhibit extended 2020-07-24 - The Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center has extended the run of its exhibit "Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader ...


Gay News

'Women Take the Stage' concert event Aug. 26 2020-07-23 - On Wed., Aug. 26, at 8 p.m. CT, top musicians, activists and feminist icons will gather for "Women Take the Stage"—a free virtual ...


Gay News

STREAMING THEATER REVIEW Groups of Ten or More People 2020-07-21 - Playwright: Gaby Labotka and Zach Barr At: Littlebrain Theatre streaming online. Tickets: Facebook.com/LittlebrainTheatre/ . Runs through: Open run The forays into ...


 



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.