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 2019-11-13
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

THEATER REVIEW Sugar in Our Wounds
by Karen Topham
2019-10-30

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Playwright: Donja R. Love

At: Den Theatre, 1333 N. Milwaukee St. Tickets: FirstFloorTheater.com . Price: $18-35. Runs through: Nov. 23

Donja R. Love's Sugar in Our Wounds takes place during the Civil War in the shadow of an enormous tree that grows on a plantation, its branches so high that it appears to be reaching all the way to heaven.

As told by Aunt Mama ( Renee Lockett ), the ageless matriarch of a makeshift slave family, the legend of the tree is that it is where all the male ancestors of the current group were hanged and where their spirits still reside. James ( Michael Turrentine ), a young slave who is trying to defy the odds and become a learned Black man, certainly believes it to be true as it explains the odd music the tree makes, the strange lights that can be seen in its branches, and the fact that he keeps hearing it murmur his name.

Also living with James and Aunt Mama is Mattie ( Ashley Crowe ), a 20-year-old who once was favored by the family in the main house as a playmate for Isabel ( Grainne Ortlieb ). But that was a long time ago: After Isabel's father bedded Mattie, she was cast out, beaten and disfigured by cuts to her face; Isabel has grown into a cruel woman, still obsessed with hurting Mattie at every opportunity, but willing to risk punishment to teach James to read for her own private reasons.

The incident that incites the play's main conflicts is the arrival in the shack of alpha male and closeted gay man Henry ( Londen Shannon ), who has just been torn from his own family and sold to this plantation. His arrival upsets the precarious harmony of the makeshift family, as he falls for James ( who is also gay ) while Mattie is falling for him. Interestingly for a show that focuses on same-sex love, Mattie's seduction of Henry is the only sex act played out on the stage. The encounters between Henry and James are absolutely PG, involving no more than kissing.

This is a play rife with modern emotion and argument despite its Civil War setting. While there was certainly gay activity among the slaves on southern plantations, the acceptance of it here feels rather anachronistic. Aunt Mama proclaims, in answer to James's query about whether it is "normal," that not only is it completely common in Africa, but that she herself has been with many women. ( Despite relying on her script at times, Lockett rocks this part; her Aunt Mama is an uncommonly sympathetic, all-knowing, once-vital woman who is weighed down by age and the pain of loss. )

Director Mikael Burke, working on a set by Joy Ahn that suggests more than shows the tree and the shack ( that adds to the somewhat surreal undertones of the mystical aspect of the play ), brings out excellent work in his cast. His creative team is also strong, from Madeleine Byrne's period costumes—both for the slaves and for Isabel—to the very effective lighting ( Eric Watkins ) and sound ( Sam Clapp ) that not only set the scenes but bring the tree to life.

Because this is a melodrama, prepare for some strong emotional responses. ( One woman at the show I attended left at the end openly sobbing. ) Today, decades after the civil rights movement ostensibly made the races equal, in an era in which same-sex marriage is legal across the United States, we continue to witness additions to this persecution brought on by ignorance and hatred. Sugar in Our Wounds is a reminder ( as if we need one ) that the historical fight goes on—and there is not a real ending in sight.


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

SHOWBIZ Megan Rapinoe, 'High School Musical,' Roxane Gay, 'Paris Is Burning' 2019-11-18 - Soccer star Megan Rapinoe accepted Glamour's Woman of the Year award—another addition to her hardware collection that includes the Golden Ball award as ...


Gay News

YEPP holds second annual 'Rise Up' event 2019-11-16 - Youth Empowerment Performance Project ( YEPP ) held its second annual Rise Up: A Celebration of Resilience Nov. 13 at Chicago Theater Works. ...


Gay News

THEATER REVIEW Rutherford and Son 2019-11-16 - Playwright: Githa Sowerby At: Timeline Theatre Company at Baird Hall, 615 W. Wellington Ave. Tickets: TimelineTheatre.com and 773-281-8463; $42. Runs through: Jan. 12 ...


Gay News

Opera Review Don Giovanni 2019-11-15 - Score: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart; Libretto: Lorenzo Da Ponte At: Lyric Opera of Chicago, 20 N. Wacker Drive. Tickets: 312-827-5600 or LyricOpera.org; $39-$299.. Runs ...


Gay News

THEATER SPOTLIGHT Always … Patsy Cline 2019-11-15 - Back then, stars traveled without entourages, stayed at motels, flew single engine planes and were easier to meet. Houston housewife Louise Seger met ...


Gay News

THEATER REVIEW Packing 2019-11-13 - Playwright: Scott Bradley At: About Face Theatre at Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont Ave. Tickets: 773-975-8150 or AboutFaceTheatre.com; $20-$38. Runs through Dec. 7 ...


Gay News

THEATER REVIEW Romeo and Juliet 2019-11-13 - Playwright: William Shakespeare At: Chicago Shakespeare Theater at Navy Pier, 800 E. Grand Ave. Tickets: ChicagoShakes.com 312-595-5600; $35-$90. Runs through: Dec. 22 ...


Gay News

THEATER REVIEW P.Y.G. or The Mis-Edumacation of Dorian Belle 2019-11-13 - Playwright: Tearrance Arvelle Chisolm At: Jackalope Theatre Company @ Broadway Armory Park, 5917 N. Broadway. Tickets: JackalopeTheatre.org; $27-$35. Runs through: Dec. 21 ...


Gay News

Critics' Picks 2019-11-13 - The Effect, Strawdog Theatre Company, through Nov. 23: Is love in the brain or in the mind, playwright Lucy Prebble asks, and can ...


Gay News

THEATER SPOTLIGHT Sombras Tango Cabaret 2019-11-13 - It's a short run for Sombras Tango Cabaret, only through this weekend, but it promises to be exotic and colorful with the sensuality ...


 



Copyright © 2019 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 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.