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 2019-07-10
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

This Bitter Earth
by Sean Margaret Wagner
2018-11-13

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Author: Harrison David Rivers

At: Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont Ave. Tickets: TheaterWit.org; $20-$38. Runs through: Dec. 8

In bringing This Bitter Earth to Chicago, About Face Theatre and director Mikael Burke are taking a very current, not always flattering snapshot of our range of responses to national violence as it creeps closer.

With his time-hopping, poetic drama, author Harrison David Rivers explores the boundaries set and broken by two men in an interracial relationship. When Rivers' characters are allowed to revel in their specifics, they are endlessly compelling. In the same stroke, they can get bogged down with exposition and playwright perspective, and are often turned into plot devices. This has not deterred Burke and the artistic team from investing in this frank look at love in the time of rampant racism. Perfection is the enemy of important storytelling.

This Bitter Earth cascades like a pile of loose photos of a normal relationship made idyllic with the knowledge that something sweet and meaningful is done. Writer/teacher Jesse ( Sheldon Brown ) has just met activist/trust-fund baby Neil ( Daniel Desmarais )—or maybe they have spent years together—with growing loyalty and annoyance. The true courtship isn't between them; it's watching their interplay with something irreconcilable as it grows between them.

Neil has buckets of white guilt and is a passionate protester, whereas Jesse is just trying to exist as a Black gay man, and stay under the radar. Neil can't understand Jesse's ability to see injustice and stay stone faced, any more than Jesse can understand what drives Neil to spend his days chanting into bullhorns for the disenfranchised. Their love can feel like a refuge and a trap, especially as Neil struggles with the concept of not asking a black man to do his emotional labor, no matter how good his intentions may be.

The true strength of This Bitter Earth lies in the pair of fearless and expressive performers at the helm. As Neil, Daniel Desmarais shares his deep thoughts and hopeful outlook unashamedly. You don't have to reach very far to find the uncomfortable thing that inspires his white guilt: his vast net worth. His outlook is trapped in 2016, and it's deeply disheartening to hear him predict a bright future with "less crazy white people" from our 2018 vantage point.

However, Sheldon Brown, as Jesse, is droll and reserved, forever lowering his societal expectations. It takes some chipping away to catch a glimpse of his beating heart, and that should be the riveting focal point of this show. There's no landscape you'll want to dive into more than Jesse's Essex Hemphill-inspired theatrical poetry. This Bitter Earth is scattered with pockets of beautiful truth designed to make Chicago appreciate the impossible soil from which Black art grows.


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

THEATER The Music Man 2019-07-20 - Author: Meredith Wilson ( book, music & lyrics ) At: Goodman Theatre, 170 N. Dearborn. Tickets: 312-443-3800; GoodmanTheatre.org; $25-$142. Runs through: Aug. 18 ...


Gay News

About Face Youth Theatre Ensemble'sm20th Anniversary: 20/20 2019-07-19 - CHICAGO — The About Face Youth Theatre Ensemble is celebrating its 20th anniversary with the world premiere of 20/20, an exhilarating dive into ...


Gay News

Sideshow Theatre Company 2019-20 season to premiere X, Pro-Am 2019-07-18 - CHICAGO ( July 17, 2019 ) — Sideshow Theatre Company is pleased to announce its 2019-20 Season, launching this fall with the U.S. ...


Gay News

Goodman Theatre announces 2019/2020 season 2019-07-18 - ( Chicago, IL ) Goodman Theatre announces the casting and creative teams for its 2019/2020 "Theater That Moves" Season openers. The season kicks-off ...


Gay News

THEATER True West 2019-07-17 - Playwright: Sam Shepard At: Steppenwolf Theatre, 1650 N. Halsted St. Tickets: Steppenwolf.org. Runs through: Aug. 25 What is the "true west?" Deserts ...


Gay News

First Floor Theater to begin Season 8 with Sugar in Our Wounds 2019-07-17 - By Donja R. Love, Directed by FFT Company Member Mikael Burke, October 19, 2019 - November 23, 2019 On a plantation during ...


Gay News

Promethean's 14th season to explore status of women, societies past, imagined 2019-07-17 - The rights and roles of women in society will be examined in Promethean Theatre Ensemble's 2019-20 season via three plays all penned or ...


Gay News

Barrel of Monkeys Presents Free Summer Workshops, Performances 2019-07-17 - CHICAGO ( July 16, 2019 ) — Barrel of Monkeys, one of Chicago's leaders in arts education, will present free creative writing workshops ...


Gay News

THEATER REVIEW Wolf Play 2019-07-17 - Playwright: Hansol Jung At: The Gift Theatre, 4802 N. Milwaukee, Chicago. Tickets: https://www.thegifttheatre.org. Runs through: Aug 18 The Gift Theatre's midwest premiere ...


Gay News

THEATER Strange Heart Beating 2019-07-16 - Playwright: Kristin Idaszak At: Cloudgate Theatre at the Frontier, 1106 W. Thorndale Ave. Tickets: CloudgateTheatre.com; $5-$45. Runs through: July 28 There's potential for ...


 



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.