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 2018-03-21
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage



THEATER REVIEW You for Me for You
by Jonathan Abarbanel, Windy City Times

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Playwright: Mia Chung

At: Sideshow Theatre Company @ Victory Gardens , 2433 N. Lincoln Ave. Tickets: 773-871-3000;; $20-$30. Runs through: April 8

If you're from a land with no ice cream and only state-run TV, you might be paralyzed by indecision and high anxiety if offered 31 flavors and 200+ TV channels. Will someone denounce you for an incorrect choice? Who is watching and why?

Junhee ( Jin Park ) finds herself in precisely that situation after escaping North Korea and finding work, love and far too many choices in New York. The States may be 180 degrees from the harsh, retrograde dynastic Stalinism of North Korea, but it's still dystopian in its own way as too much freedom and no freedom both are distortions. The easy availability of guns in America—too much freedom—demonstrates this.

George Orwell meets Lewis Carroll in Mia Chung's 2012 work of magic realism, which tracks not only Junhee's path in the New World but the harrowing parallel path of her older sister, Minhee ( Helen Joo Lee ), left behind in the nation of Kim-praise to endure The Great Famine ( 1994-98 ), during which several million citizens are estimated to have starved to death. Minhee also faces the state's impenetrable, shifting control apparatus which destroys not only her husband but also their son, sent at less than 10 years of age to a re-education prison for stealing food. Eventually Junhee returns for Minhee, an outcome heavily foreshadowed in the early scenes of this 105-minute play.

Be aware that linear and realistic storytelling is not author Mia Chung's style, or that of classy director Elly Green ( whose fine production of Ibsen's linear-and-realistic Pillars of the Community just closed at Straw Dog ). Minhee's scenes jump in time. Westerners speak gibberish to Junhee at first, representing how English sounds to her. Minhee, on a journey quest to visit her son, encounters a pedagogue cultivating musical rice—a scene surely paying tribute to Carroll. Minhee's husband in ghostly form describes his death at the hands of the state in at least four different ways. Puppets of frogs ( symbolizing entrapment ) and human ears are utilized. It's all played on William Boles' shadow box set, boldly framed in red, with clever louvers ( both horizontal and vertical ) at the rear which turn to reveal various scenic and lighting effects.

Early on, the play is disconcerting as Chung jerks the audience into the magical style after an almost brutally-realistic opening scene between the sisters. You'll need to pay attention and figure out the rules of the road, which are fable-like and picaresque. Once you do, the play's simple but diverse theatrical devices are highly engaging. The fine supporting cast includes Patrick Agada ( charming as Junhee's boyfriend ), Gordon Chow, funny Katy Carolina Collins and John Lu.

North Korea's murderous horrors are well-known, so the story here involves sisterhood and perseverance, not politics.

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.


Gay News

W.O.M.B. marks first anniversary at Affinity 2018-03-22 - E. Nina J. and Lucy Shumpert marked the first anniversary of their monthly women of color poetry and spoken word open mic night ...

Gay News

Firebrand Theatre Presents 9 TO 5 The Musical, Music & Lyrics by Dolly Parton 2018-03-22 - CHICAGO ( March 21, 2018 ) — Following its critically acclaimed hit LIZZIE, Firebrand Theatre, the first musical theatre company committed to employing ...

Gay News

SPRING THEATER PREVIEW Gay take on Shakespeare play has Bollywood flair 2018-03-21 - In all of Shakespeare's writings, there's only one un-coded and undeniably gay man. He's Antonio, titular merchant of The Merchant of Venice. Without ...

Gay News

THEATER SPOTLIGHT Bad Girls: The Stylists 2018-03-21 - A quintet of actors play more than two dozen roles in Bad Girls: The Stylists, Astrid Saalbach's dark-to-its-roots comedy about stylists and clientele ...

Gay News

THEATER REVIEW The Picture of Dorian Gray 2018-03-21 - Playwright Adapted by Paul Edwards, from the novel by Oscar Wilde At: City Lit Theatre, 1020 W. Bryn Mawr Ave. Tickets: 773-293-3682, ...

Gay News

THEATER REVIEW Sweeney Todd, the Demon Barber of Fleet Street 2018-03-21 - Written by: Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler At: No Exit Cafe, 6970 N. Glenwood Ave. Tickets: $39-69 ( higher price includes dinner ). ...

Gay News

THEATER Critics' Picks 2018-03-21 - Schiller's Mary Stuart, Chicago Shakespeare Theater, through April 15. Hailed as a clash of queens—Mary of Scots vs. Elizabeth of England—it's far more ...

Gay News

THEATER REVIEW Hang Man 2018-03-21 - Playwright: Stacy Osei-Kuffour At: Gift Theatre, 4802 N. Milwaukee. Tickets: 773-283-7071;; $30-$40. Runs through: April 29 Whether it's the play itself, ...

Gay News

SPRING THEATER PREVIEW Musicals: Fresh flowers and old chestnuts 2018-03-21 - If quantity is your thing, it's a great spring for musical theater; you'll be up to your ears in singers and dancers. ...

Gay News

SPRING THEATER PREVIEW Premieres reflect global awareness 2018-03-21 - Playwrights and the theaters who showcase them are finally catching up with the times. Audiences looking to shake off the inertia of winter ...


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.








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.