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 2019-09-18
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

THEATER REVIEW Vieux Carre
by Jonathan Abarbanel, Windy City Times
2014-05-21

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Playwright: Tennessee Williams. At: Rave Theatre, 6157 N. Clark St. Tickets: 1-773-338-2177; www.raventheatre.com; $36. Runs through: June 28

Many authors have written autobiographical coming-of-age works, among them Ben Hecht ( with Gaily, Gaily ) and Neil Simon ( with his Biloxi Blues ). Vieux Carre is Tennessee Williams' ( 1911-1983 ) contribution. This late-career play ( 1977 ) failed on Broadway due, in part, to its episodic and rambling structure. True, it lacks dramatic cohesion but it offers thematic cohesion along with considerable charm and raucous humor as Williams looked back at himself with a mellow eye.

By 1977, Williams could use "fuck" on stage and—far more importantly—create openly gay characters treated with a degree of sympathy and dignity, such as the nameless young writer at the center of Vieux Carre. He's come to the French Quarter of 1930s New Orleans, as Williams actually did, staying at a barely respectable rooming house, having several self-defining gay experiences ( Williams had far more than he puts in the play ) and observing a cross-section of residents while learning life lessons.

The focus shifts between the writer ( Ty Olwin ) and a tubercular old gay painter, Nightingale ( Will Casey ); a young woman of means from New York, slumming with a local stud ( Eliza Stoughton, Joel Reitsma ); a Black housekeeper, Nursie ( Sandra Watson ); two impoverished old maids ( Kristin Collins, Debra Rodkin ); and a lonely but mean landlady, Mrs. Wire ( JoAnn Montemurro ), verging on dementia.

Under director Cody Estle, this perfectly lovely production of Vieux Carre plays to the rich comedy of Act I, the eccentric range of characters and the theme of constant yearning for connection—be it love or merely a momentary break from loneliness—found throughout Tennessee Williams' works. Estle has made solid casting choices and respects Williams' words and intent. His lively pacing avoids lugubrious passages, and emphasizes the work's kaleidoscopic nature. Unlike some young directors, Estle seems happy to interpret the text and not impose a dubious personal concept. I admire this in him, and it works quite well for Vieux Carre.

Sprawling across wide Raven stage, Ray Toler's set reveals a warren of bedrooms and connecting hallways. It's not rich in New Orleans details but more than sufficiently suggests the cramped and steamy rooming house confines. Alaina Moore's period costumes well-suit characters lacking the finances to be stylish.

I believe Vieux Carre fails not because of its rambling structure but because it's a comedy at heart which Williams pulls and twists into something heavier than it can support. The young woman has leukemia, for example, revealed deep in Act II for no particular dramatic reason. Williams last completed play, A House Not Meant to Stand, suffered similarly. As developed at Chicago's Goodman Theatre, the early one-act version was a comedy which Williams warped and stretched into a grotesque two-act tragedy. He didn't seem to understand that comedy on its own can serve serious purposes.


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

Ooh La La Burlesque & Variety Show to benefit Center on Addison 2019-09-18 - Chicago, IL — We are thrilled to announce our upcoming fundraising event for Center on Addison, the social and residential center for LGBTQ ...


Gay News

THEATER REVIEW Tiny Beautiful Things 2019-09-18 - Playwright: Adapted by Nia Vardalos from the book by Cheryl Strayed. At: Victory Gardens Theater at the Biograph, 2433 N. Lincoln Ave. Tickets: ...


Gay News

THEATER REVIEW Five Presidents 2019-09-18 - Playwright: Rick Cleveland At: American Blues Theater @Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont Ave. Tickets: 1-773-654-3103; AmericanBluesTheater.com; $29-$39. Runs through: Oct. 19 ...


Gay News

THEATER REVIEW The Great Leap 2019-09-18 - Playwright: Lauren Yee At: Steppenwolf Theatre Company, 1650 N. Halsted St. Tickets: 312-335-1650; Steppenwolf.org; $20-$89. Runs through: Oct. 20 The year ...


Gay News

The Suffrage Plays to open Nov. 1, director, full cast announced 2019-09-18 - Full casting has been announced for the opening production of Artemisia's season — THE SUFFRAGE PLAYS - an evening of three one-act comedies ...


Gay News

Critics' Picks 2019-09-18 - You Can't Fake the Funk, Black Ensemble through Sept. 22—Funk music tribute with two dozen '60s, '70s and early '80s songs, exceptionally well ...


Gay News

THEATER REVIEW Casa Valentina 2019-09-17 - Playwright: Harvey Fierstein At: The Broadway at Pride Arts Center, 4139 N. Broadway. Tickets: $25-40; PrideFilmsAndPlays.com. Runs through: Sept. 29 They ...


Gay News

Special Equity Jeff Award to honor Teatro Vista 2019-09-17 - Chicago Tuesday Sept. 17, 2019 - The Jeff Awards will honor Teatro Vista with the 2019 Special Equity Jeff Award at the Equity ...


Gay News

Youth auditions for Christmas Carol Sept. 21 2019-09-17 - The Goodman Theatre, 170 N. Dearborn St., is holding youth auditions for A Christmas Carol on Saturday, Sept. 21. In-person registration will be ...


Gay News

About Face Theatre Announces Complete 2019-2020 Season 2019-09-15 - The About Face Theatre season will feature three hyper-intimate main stage productions that reveal multiple perspectives within the LGBTQ+ community, along with our ...


 



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.