Windy City Media Group Frontpage News Home
CELEBRATING 28+ YEARS OF Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender NEWS

Search Gay News Articles
Advanced Search
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2014-04-16
Download Issue
  News Index       Archives   About WCMG    Publications    Bars & Clubs     Calendar   Videos   Advertisers    OUT! Guide    Classifieds   AIDS @ 32
 Local | National | World | Politics | Obits | Profiles | Views | Entertainment | Theater | Dance | Music | Film | Art | Books | TV/Gossip
 Travel | History | Marriage | Youth | Trans | Lesbian | Celebrations | Food | Nightlife | Sports | Health | Real Estate | Autos | Pets | Crime

Homeless agency looks at increasing needs Homeless agency looks at increasing needs
Fewer people were happier to see the winter of 2013-14 end than ...

Browse Gay News Index   Browse Gay News Archives
  Windy City Times

True West Playwright: Sam Shepard
by Rick Reed
2001-01-17

facebook twitter del.icio.us stumble upon digg google +1 reddit email


Sam Shepard's True West has earned its reputation as a contemporary classic. The story of two brothers, Austin and Lee, this over-the-top, dark comedy explores the duality of human nature by separating it into two very different siblings. Austin is the "good" brother: a screenwriter with a stable life, successful career and a dearth of vices. Lee is the wild brother: unpredictable, hard-drinking, a drifter, impractical and sometimes violent, Lee personifies the legacy of both the brothers' father, who is referred to often enough in the play to become a kind of motif for irresponsibility and a dedication to living life on one's own terms. The irony of Shepard's story is that each brother envies the other and it is this envy that throws them together, with Lee trying to write the great American "true west" screenplay, while his straight-laced brother dabbles in petty crime and drunkenness. Set over the course of a few days in their vacationing mother's vacant desert home, True West descends into chaos as the brothers grasp in vain for new identities.

Bailiwick's Deaf Artist Program adds a new twist to the tale by making Lee, the wild brother, hearing-impaired. Michael J. Stark, as Lee, has the requisite John Malkovich look and mannerisms down for the part ( Malkovich originated the role with Gary Sinise for Steppenwolf ) . He does an excellent job, even without speaking any of Shepard's rough-hewn dialogue ( this Lee communicates with American Sign Language [ ASL ] ) . Equally good is Aaron Christensen as Austin, who has the thankless job of not only fleshing out his own role as the successful, responsible brother, but of translating almost everything his brother is saying for the hearing audience. And herein lies the problem of this production of True West. Having Austin rephrase everything Lee is saying so those of us who don't understand ASL can know what's going on is an awkward device and one which ultimately undercuts Shepard's escalating drama, crisp characterization and, unfortunately, his message. The translating becomes a gimmick, detracting too much from the very human drama unfolding on the stage. We're forced to think too much about how director Ronald Jiu is trying to translate True West into a production that can be done by the Deaf Artist Program instead of the valid tale the playwright so brilliantly conceived. At one point, when Austin and his agent, Saul ( the wooden and unfunny Marc Lessman ) are speaking, we see their words projected on a board behind them. This same simple device might have been an alternate route to providing a voice for Lee for those of us who don't understand ASL.

This is an ambitious production, with fine performances by the two leads, but, as a play incorporating the hearing-impaired, it just doesn't work. There's simply too many burdens placed on one character ( Austin ) for us to fully appreciate the fine balance Shepard was trying to impart when he was crafting his metaphor about the duality of our natures.


facebook twitter del.icio.us stumble upon digg 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.

Brahman/i ne-Hijra Stand Up Comedy Show extended 2014-04-16
THEATER REVIEW Our Class 2014-04-16
THEATER REVIEW The Great God Pan 2014-04-16
CRITICS' PICKS 2014-04-16
THEATER REVIEW El Incas 2014-04-16
Spotlight: The Dance of Death 2014-04-16
Arts Alliance luncheon to feature McCraney 2014-04-16
THEATER REVIEW Cicada 2014-04-14
Chicago Humanities Fest names Alison Cuddy Program Director 2014-04-10
Spotlight: 33 RPM and a Few Seconds 2014-04-09
Peter and the Starcatcher 2014-04-09
A Place in the Woods 2014-04-09
CRITICS' PICKS 2014-04-09
THEATER REVIEW Happy Endings 2014-04-09
Brahman/i: A One-Hijra Stand Up Comedy Show 2014-04-09
SCOTTISH PLAY SCOTT Sexual and gender dualities on stage 2014-04-09
Chicago play brings former flames full circle in 'Cicada' 2014-04-09
Sapna Kumar chases dreams to Hollywood 2014-04-09
Dustin Lance Black at Elmhurst College on May 8 2014-04-09
Comedy night benefits NU's IMPACT program 2014-04-08
THEATER REVIEW Good Boys and True 2014-04-02
Spotlight: The Laramie Project 2014-04-02
THEATER REVIEW Depraved New World 2014-04-02
CRITICS' PICKS 2014-04-02
Songs from an Unmade Bed 2014-04-02
April 7 comedy event to benefit LGBT program 2014-04-02
Babes with Blades to run 'L'Imbecile' in April, May 2014-04-02
Judy Gold among City Winery's upcoming acts 2014-04-02
THEATER REVIEW Bat-Hamlet 2014-04-02
TheatrePros.com holding spring preview April 6 2014-04-01
Wonka Ball's theme is 'The Gayme Show!' 2014-04-01
Getting on bi? World premieres touch upon sexual fluidity 2014-04-01
Celebrating Miss Foozie April 6 2014-04-01
Steppenwolf gets colorful with gala 2014-04-01
From Brazil: Cabaret Improtempo 2014-03-26
LGBTQ homeless youth project heals through performance 2014-03-26
Indian-American intersex comedy show debuts 2014-03-26
Seven Homeless Mammoths Wander New England 2014-03-26
CRITICS' PICKS 2014-03-26
THEATER REVIEW Chapatti 2014-03-26





Copyright © 2014 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
the 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.

 

 

 



 

Gay-owned B&B offers warmth in Rogers Park
 
'This Is What It Feels Like' to be Armin van Buuren
 
BENT NIGHTS Sharon Corr; Dum Dum Girls; Landmarks
 
Pam Grier talks 'Dining Out For Life,' comic conventions
 
Boy George on St. Patrick's Day, Easter Lady Bunny
 
Windy City Times Current DownloadNightspots Current DownloadQueercast Current Download
Windy City Media Group BlogsJoin Our Email List!Donate Now








  News Index       Archives   About WCMG    Publications    Bars & Clubs     Calendar   Videos   Advertisers    OUT! Guide    Classifieds   AIDS @ 32
 Local | National | World | Politics | Obits | Profiles | Views | Entertainment | Theater | Dance | Music | Film | Art | Books | TV/Gossip
 Travel | History | Marriage | Youth | Trans | Lesbian | Celebrations | Food | Nightlife | Sports | Health | Real Estate | Autos | Pets | Crime



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      News Videos      Nightspots Videos      Entertainment Videos      Queercast Videos      Comedy Videos     
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.