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 You Are Happy
by Scott C. Morgan, Windy City Times
2019-10-30

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Playwright: Rebecca Deraspe; English translation: Leanna Brodie; American Sign Language translation: Mary Kate Ashe, Michelle Mary Schaefer, Brendan Connelly

At: Red Theater at The Edge Off Broadway, 1133 W. Catalpa Ave. Tickets: RedTheater.org; $10-$30

Since 2015, Red Theater has made accessibility a cornerstone of its operating mission. And this inclusivity is reflective in its contemplative and deconstructed Chicago premiere of Quebecois playwright Rebecca Deraspe's 2011 comic drama You Are Happy.

Actually, Deraspe's play was originally titled Deux Ans de Votre Vie ( Two Years of Your Life ). But English translator Leanna Brodie renamed it You Are Happy.

Red Theater goes a step further in the play's translation journey by making American Sign Language ( or captioning ) as a default language alongside spoken English. That's because two of the leading characters are played by deaf or hard-of-hearing actors.

You Are Happy has a deliberately simplistic plot: Chloe ( Michelle Mary Schaefer ) is an insecure waitress who gets manipulated into becoming the girlfriend of a graphic designer named Jeremy ( Brendan Connely ).

It is Jeremey's assuredly single and hearing sister, research analyst Bridget ( Emily Turner ), who is the matchmaking mastermind. Bridget's romantic wrangling stems from her belief that a girlfriend will stop her brother's repeated ( and so annoying! ) suicide attempts.

In You Are Happy, Deraspe questions whether couple-hood truly brings about happiness. She also delves into the randomness of life, plus she questions whether honest communication can really lead to unending romantic bliss.

Co-directors Aaron Sawyer and Mary Kate run with the play's existential bent ( and Giulianna Marchese's production concept ) by presenting everything as barebones. The co-directors deconstruct things further by having the characters shadowed by spoken English translators. ( Sarah JK Shoemaker is Chloe's Voice, Bowie Foote is Jeremy's Voice and Elana Weiner-Kaplow is Bridget's Voice. )

These voices largely function in the same way in that American Sign Language interpreters get trotted out and pushed to the side for some theaters' special accessibility performances. Yet these "voice actors" also get to interact now and then, and they appear to read out stage directions as part of the overall text.

All these levels of communication are simultaneously distancing and enthralling for You Art Happy. Yet one wishes for more physical comedy now and then from the performers.

Clearly You Are Happy can become a laugh riot if its actors dig into the quirky nature of Brodie's translation of Deraspe's sometimes offbeat dialogue and nonsensical situations. As played at Red Theater, things are mostly straightforward and seriously presentational rather than being awkwardly situational slapstick fun.

So Red Theater deserves kudos for its assured and inclusive take on You Are Happy. Yet one wishes that the quirkiness could have been ratcheted up with more comic physicality to contrast with the existential uncertainty that pervades the play and this production.


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

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 ...


Gay News

'Christmas Bingo: Summer Edition' online through July 2020-07-21 - Christmas Bingo: Summer Edition—written by Vicki Quade, one of the creators of the hit comedy Late Nite Catechism—is streaming through Friday, July 31. ...


 



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.