Venues across the area celebrate the Black experience

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A. C. SMITH AND Beth Thomas star in a re-staging of Eugene O’Neill’s “A Moon for the Misbegotten.”

By Elaine Hegwood Bowen, M.S.J., Chicago Crusader

The Gift Theatre launched its 17th season with the world premiere of Stacy Amma Osei-Kuffour’s haunting and often-humorous drama “Hang Man,” directed by Jess McLeod, playing March 2 through April 29, 2018, at 4802 N. Milwaukee Ave. in Chicago. Single tickets and season subscriptions are currently available by visiting the gifttheatre.org.

The community of a backwoods Southern town grapples with the murder of a Black man who is found hanging from a tree. As events unfold, the hanging mystifies the people of the community, forcing them to confront their complicity in this man’s horrific demise. Osei-Kuffour’s darkly comical, heartbreaking play, which recently made the prestigious 2017 Kilroy’s List, uses absurdity to explore racism, sexuality and the parts of American history we would all like to forget.

Comments Artistic Director Michael Patrick Thornton, “The Gift is honored to produce the world premiere of “Hang Man.” Stacy Amma Osei-Kuffour’s voice is singular, bold, incisive and humorous. The moment we finished her play, we were shook, terrified and knew we had to embrace it. “Hang Man” demands to be experienced right now; experiencing it in the intimacy of The Gift will simply be unforgettable.”

Writers Theatre – 325 Tudor Court, Glencoe“A Moon for the Misbegotten”

In 1920s rural Connecticut, Phil Hogan cobbles together a living on rented farmland that he hopes to someday own outright, when his landlord Jim Tyrone comes into his inheritance. Hogan has driven away his three sons, but his towering daughter Josie understands her father and can hold her own. When the two learn that the land may be sold out from under them, they concoct a plan to save it that ultimately reveals the secret desires that two lonely souls have kept hidden for years.

Traditionally performed with Irish characters, the cast of Writers Theatre’s “A Moon for the Misbegotten” focuses on an African-American family and reflects the Midwest American farmer. The play features Jim DeVita (James Tyrone, Jr.), Eric Parks (T. Stedman Harder), Cage Sebastian Pierre (Mike Hogan), A.C. Smith (Phil Hogan) and Bethany Thomas (Josie Hogan).

MARIAH SYDNEI GORDON plays in “Hang Man,” playing at the Gift Theatre. (Photo by Claire Demos)

This bittersweet elegy from four-time Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright and Nobel laureate Eugene O’Neill offers a moving and powerful exploration of humanity at its basest and most beautiful. Directed by WT Resident Director William Brown, this soaring powerhouse of a play is simultaneously intimate and epic, touching on themes of desire, family and the things we sacrifice for those we love.

“We’re all excited to be exploring Eugene O’Neill for the first time in our 26-year history,” said Artistic Director Michael Halberstam. “Bill Brown has articulated such a beautiful, passionate, personal and clear vision for the piece. At Writers, it is our mission to take classics down from the shelf and dust them off and breathe new life into them. A.C. Smith, Bethany Thomas and Jim DeVita (in fact the whole cast) are some of the finest actors in the city and therefore the country. They bring original and refreshing voices to the conversation about the play and their endless reservoirs of creativity and emotional sophistication will make for a compelling take on the narrative. Furthermore, Bill’s design team has created a wonderful connection between intimate and epic in the beautiful Nichols Theatre. The lives of these disenfranchised characters demand such an intimate and empathic engagement while their emotional turmoil lives at an epic scale. Lean forward and engage!”

“A Moon for the Misbegotten” plays through March 18. For information, visit: www.writerstheatre.org.

Goodman Theatre, located at 170 N. Dearborn St., in collaboration with WTTW, presents a series of programs and performances in support of an exciting new documentary about Lorraine Hansberry’s life and legacy—Sighted Eyes/Feeling Heart. All events are free, but reservations are required.

Screening: A Raisin in the Sun

March 8 | 7 p.m. | Goodman Theatre

Goodman Theatre screens the 1961 film adaptation of Lorraine Hansberry’s beloved play, “A Raisin in the Sun” starring Sidney Poitier, Ruby Dee and Claudia McNeil.

Screening: Lorraine Hansberry: Sighted Eyes / Feeling Heart with Performances of writing inspired by To Be Young, Gifted, and Black

March 11 | 3 p.m. | Goodman Theatre

Goodman Theatre presents a screening of Lorraine Hansberry: Sighted Eyes / Feeling Heart. Before the screening, participants of Goodman Theatre’s Writing Workshop will present selections inspired by Hansberry’s To Be Young, Gifted, and Black, a collection of Hansberry’s letters and unpublished works that were collated into both a play and autobiography.

Staged Reading: Les Blancs

March 12 | 7 p.m. | Goodman Theatre

Goodman Theatre presents a staged reading of Lorraine Hansberry’s “Les Blancs,” directed by Lili-Anne Brown. Hansberry’s final play, “Les Blancs” explores race, colonialism and culture clashes in the late 19th and early 20th century in Africa.

Staged Reading: A Raisin in the Sun

March 15 | 7 p.m. |Chicago State University

An opportunity to hear “A Raisin in the Sun” live, performed by theater students of Chicago State University.

This link will lead you to the reservation page for the above events: https://www.goodmantheatre.org/Tickets/calendar/talks-events/1718/Lorraine-Hansberry-Events/

 

 

 

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