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 2018-12-05
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

THEATER REVIEW Sagittarius Ponderosa
by Jonathan Abarbanel, Windy City Times
2018-07-11

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Playwright: MJ Kaufman

At: Redtwist Theatre, 1044 W. Bryn Mawr Ave. Tickets: 773-728-7529; Redtwist.org; $35-$40. Runs through: July 29

Sagittarius Ponderosa is stuffed with unfulfilled possibilities despite a more-than-competent production. A work of magic realism, it seems an exercise in style and technique rather than focused on character or story.

For reasons not fully explained, the setting is central Oregon near a majestic ponderosa pine forest ( perhaps there's a personal connection for playwright MJ Kaufman ), and scenic designer Kristen Martino's set skillfully incorporates four gargantuan tree trunks. Here, between one Thanksgiving and the next, a small family goes through major transitions.

First, returning late-20s daughter Angela ( Jaq Seifert ) has transitioned to Archer, a name taken from hir birth sign, Sagittarius the hunter. Spending nights in the forest, hir meets Owen ( Christopher Acevedo ), a grad student, and they begin an affair. Then, long-widowed Grandma ( Kathleen Ruhl ) creates a love potion ( intended for Angela ) that triggers a romance with her geriatric neighbor ( a puppet operated by Brian Parry ).

Archer's father/Grandma's son ( also Brian Parry ) takes a new name, too, so Death won't know him. He has an unspecified lingering illness with no symptoms ( but perhaps diabetes ), and Death collects him anyway halfway through the 75-minute play. He reappears to Grandma and Archer in supportive ghostly visits but not to his newly alone wife ( Jacqueline Grandt ), who has mutual communication issues with Archer.

Then, Owen leaves without telling Archer his last name, where he's going or if he'll return ... and Archer doesn't ask. Ze decides to stay with Mom and get a local job. And then it's Thanksgiving Day again with Mom, Archer, Grandma and her new bf counting their blessings.

Earlier, Owen tells Archer about old Native American knowledge of controlled burns that cleared the forest floor, thereby renewing and strengthening the ponderosas, and the play seems to be about renewal. It's difficult to tell because there's so little information about the characters; things such the parents' reactions to Archer's transition, why they live in the woods or the source of mother-daughter conflict. Next, Dad's relationships to his wife, child and mother are so incompletely written that his death makes no difference. Finally, Owen's abrupt departure is unfulfilling for the audience and leaves a gap in understanding Archer, the play's central figure. At the end, only Grandma appears to have chosen life and renewal via her new relationship. Mom and Archer count their blessings, too, but they really don't seem to have any.

Sagittarius Ponderosa is well-performed under director James Fleming. The actors have charm and tenderness despite the sometimes-confusing "magic" style. But the character writing is so sketchy that it's difficult to really care about them.


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

Best of The Infinite Wrench 2018 2018-12-08 - Playwright: The Neo-Futurists At the Neo-Futurarium, 5153 N. Ashland Ave. Tickets: Neofuruturists.org; $10 - $20. Runs through: Dec. 9 Who would have ...


Gay News

Holiday Hootenanny Radio Hour presents Cricket on the Mantle, benefits AVER 2018-12-08 - CHICAGO ( November 16, 2018 ) — The Holiday Hootenanny Radio Hour is pleased to announce Nick Thornton's heart warming new radio play ...


Gay News

Interrobang Theatre Project to present "I Call my Brothers" 2018-12-07 - CHICAGO ( December 6, 2018 ) Interrobang Theatre Project is pleased to continue its ninth season, exploring "identity/crisis"with the Chicago premiere of Jonas ...


Gay News

About Face Theatre announces casting for DADA WOOF PAPA HOT 2018-12-06 - CHICAGO ( December 6, 2018 ) — About Face Theatre is pleased to announce casting for its Chicago premiere of DADA WOOF PAPA ...


Gay News

Critics' Picks 2018-12-05 - The Safe House, City Lit Theatre at Edgewater Presbyterian Church, through Dec. 16. The occupants of the title dwelling may be a three-generation ...


Gay News

'When Adonis Calls' through Dec. 9 at Pride Arts 2018-12-05 - Thompson Street Opera Company is collaborating with Pride Films & Plays on the production When Adonis Calls, which will run Fridays through Sundays ...


Gay News

DINING Gift drive, Theater on the Lake, 'Charlie Brown' Christmas 2018-12-04 - —Caffe Umbria, in Logan Square ( 2545 W. Armitage Ave. ) and River North ( 346 N. Clark St. ), is hosting a ...


Gay News

Jane Lynch, Kate Flannery make the yuletide swing 2018-12-04 - Actresses Jane Lynch and Kate Flannery are teaming up this holiday season and hitting the road. The album—A Swingin' Little Christmas! Jane Lynch—features ...


Gay News

Familiar 2018-12-04 - Playwright: Danai Gurira At: Steppenwolf Theatre Company, 1650 N. Halsted St. Tickets: 312-335-1650; Steppenwolf.org; $20-$109. Runs through: January 13 The foundation ...


Gay News

SPOTLIGHT on The Book of Merman 2018-12-04 - The Book of Merman: Merman meets Mormons in the musical tale of Missionaries attempting to "save' the legendary Broadway belter. In Flying Elephant's ...


 



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.