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 2015-07-29
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage


  WINDY CITY TIMES

THEATER REVIEW Purple Heart
by Mary Shen Barnidge
2013-01-02

facebook twitter pin it del.icio.us stumble upon digg google +1 reddit email


Playwright: Bruce Norris. At: Redtwist Theatre, 1044 W. Bryn Mawr Ave. Tickets: 773-728-7529; www.redtwist.org; $25-$30. Runs through: Jan. 27

After a playwright wins the Pulitzer for a drama crafted in the classic tradition, it's easy to forget that they once wrote in less lofty modes. (Compare Tracy Letts' epic August: Osage County with his brutal Killer Joe.) Audiences expecting this early play by Bruce Norris to deliver the historical footnotes and social commentary of the award-winning Clybourne Park will have to look hard to find them in this lesson on the pitfalls of writing on commission for a pre-cast ensemble—in this case, the Steppenwolf company circa 2002.

Our story is set in 1972, a few days after Army wife Carla Larson has received word that her husband has been killed in Vietnam. All the bereft spouse wants is solitude to sort out her mixed feelings about the loss of her abusive partner, but instead she is beset by her pious mother-in-law, her withdrawn preteen son and a hoard of well-wishing "vampires and vultures." There is nothing unusual about this situation: military marriages are frequently troubled, soldiers' sons often display a morbid fascination with wartime atrocities, and we have all encountered civilians who revel in sentimental patriotism.

Into this welter of family tension comes a stranger—a disabled GI whose laconic temperament allows him to shift allegiances with never a pause or stumble—and suddenly the play likewise shifts into Albee/Pinter mode. Is Cpl. Purdy an angel of life, come for a second annunciation? Is he an angel of death, and if so, what is the target of his mission? Then again, could he be an everyday stalker, preying on vulnerable women? Theatergoers uninterested in these questions may also track the intricate network of catch-phrases that wax and wane in their significance as the plot demands (the old "Will I be able to play the piano?" joke, for example, which becomes a bonding password for Purdy and Carla).

This atmosphere of unseen menace may have been suited perfectly to Laurie Metcalf's heebie-jeebie mannerisms, but the close quarters of the Redtwist storefront dictates an intimacy that renders Norris' enigmatic symbolism more annoying than threatening, especially since Redtwist company member KC Karen Hill makes Carla, not a congenital neurotic, but a victim of crisis, exacerbated by the bullying of alleged comforters whose attentions make a pervert offering escape, while still a pervert, look downright attractive by comparison. When we care about a character, authorial cleverness can do nothing but get in the way.


facebook twitter pin it del.icio.us stumble upon digg 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

Upcoming: Theater 2015-08-01
SCOTTISH PLAY SCOTT Pop porn 2015-07-29
Shakespeare in the Parks thru Aug. 16 2015-07-29
THEATER REVIEW A Perfect Ganesh 2015-07-29
THEATER REVIEW Bette! Live at the Continental Baths 2015-07-29
THEATER REVIEW Loving Repeating 2015-07-29
THEATER REVIEW Grand Concourse 2015-07-29
Theater Spotlight and Critics' Picks 2015-07-29
Louisiana comedian Jen Kober coming to The Den Theatre 2015-07-29
NUNN ON ONE: THEATER Mark Burrell is steppin' in 'Pippin' 2015-07-28
Salve Regina: A Coming of Gay Story at Center in August 2015-07-28
These Boots Are Made for Working 2015-07-23
Chaz Bono on stage in "Down the Road" in LA 2015-07-23
Upcoming: Theater 2015-07-22
SCOTTISH PLAY SCOTT About Face takes 'Breaths,' marks anniversary 2015-07-22
THEATER REVIEW Men of Soul 2015-07-22
THEATER REVIEW Whatever 2015-07-22
THEATER REVIEW Take Me Back 2015-07-22
NUNN ON ONE Sandra Bernhard: Feeling '#blessed' 2015-07-22
THEATER REVIEW Grand Concourse 2015-07-22
Theater Spotlight and Critics' Picks 2015-07-22
Entertainment: Jennifer Hudson; Lee Daniels; Margaret Cho; Thomas Roberts 2015-07-21
Loving Repeating musical tribute to author Gertrude Stein 2015-07-20
Piccolo's 2015/2016 season opens With local playwright adaptation 2015-07-17
Step Up Productions announces 2015-16 season 2015-07-17
Macbeth cast announced 2015-07-16
THEATER REVIEW Kiss of the Spider Woman: The Musical 2015-07-15
THEATER REVIEW Brilliant Adventures 2015-07-15
THEATER REVIEW Kinky Boots 2015-07-15
Theater Spotlight and Critics' Picks 2015-07-15
THEATER REVIEW Bard Fiction 2015-07-14
Court Theatre opens season with August Wilson's Gem of the Ocean 2015-07-13
Trap Door Season announces 2015/2016 season 2015-07-12
OUTspoken! LGBT Storytelling at Sidetrack celebrating one year 2015-07-10
Sandra Oh, Andre De Shields in Victory Gardens Theater Ignition Festival 2015-07-09
Coffee table book reveals world of burlesque 2015-07-09
DANCIN' FEATS A closer look at 'Queer, Ill & Okay' 2015-07-08
THEATER REVIEW Beaches 2015-07-08
THEATER REVIEW Bent 2015-07-08
THEATER REVIEW Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike 2015-07-08
 



Copyright © 2015 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.