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 2018-08-15
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

THEATER REVIEW Leave Me Alone
by Lauren Emily Whalen
2018-08-01

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Playwright: Paul Michael Thomson

At: The Heartland Studio, 7016 N. Glenwood Ave. Tickets: $15; TheStoryTheatre.org .Runs through: Aug. 12.

A current of excitement ran through Heartland Studio on Leave Me Alone's opening night.

This world premiere is the inaugural production of The Story Theatre, a company whose mission is "to pose questions, rather than supply answers." Playwright Paul Michael Thomson is a founding member, as well as a produced playwright and Chicago actor. His contemporary take on Chekhov's Ivanov poses fascinating questions about mental health, queer identity and modern politics. If only Thomson had taken those questions one step further, and not relied on passion to see him through.

The program supplies Ivanov's plot summary, but it's unnecessary to anyone with a passing familiarity with Chekhov's work. There's debt. Heartbreak. Dissatisfaction with life in general. And vodka. In Leave Me Alone, Nik Ivanov ( Sean Gallagher ) is a state representative up for reelection, stuck in an unhappy marriage to Anna ( Brenna Walsh ), whose Mormon family disowned her. Nik can't leave her because she's dying: in the original play, of tuberculosis, and in this adaptation, of an unnamed disease. Not only is Nik deeply in debt, but he's interested in his lender's 20-year-old son ( Jordan Dell Harris )—very interested.

Thomson and I both love Chekhov's gallows humor, reliable archetypes and deep philosophies behind everyday mundanity. Leave Me Alone is Thomson's baby, and it shows in every gentle music cue, stolen kiss and hidden gun that will inevitably fire. Thomson and director Matt Bowdren take Nik's emotional struggles seriously, even including resources for suicide prevention on the back of the program. Thomson's intelligent writing is on full display in one-on-one scenes between Anna and her compassionate doctor ( Ayanna Bria Bakari ), as well as Nik and his secret lover. Thoughtful Chekhovian details abound.

Sadly, these strengths can't overcome the play's considerable weaknesses. Nik's uncle-in-law ( Michael Kingston ) is a bombastic baby-boomer stereotype who's so over-the-top, he's distracting. Also, for a play whose tagline is "like … Ivanov, but gayer," Nik's journey as a closeted queer man feels remarkably flat, only fully present in his scenes with his lover. Instead of Chekhov's famous character asides, Thomson uses quotes about love and death delivered to the audience, which completely detract from the story. Leave Me Alone has many true moments, but feels like a second draft—almost but not quite ready for prime time.


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 REVIEW Richard III 2018-08-15 - By: William Shakespeare. At: Ingraham Park, Evanston. Tickets: MuseOfFire.weebly.com; free. Runs through: Sept. 9 Richard III transforms before the audience's eyes ...


Gay News

Critics' Picks 2018-08-15 - Buddy, American Blues Theater @ Stage 773, remounted through Sept. 15. Far more concert than story, the short, mostly-sweet life of Buddy Holly ...


Gay News

REVIEW Holding the Man 2018-08-15 - Playwright: Tommy Murphy; adapted from a memoir by Timothy Conigrave At: The Broadway, Pride Arts Center, 4139 N. Broadway. Tickets: 866-811-4111 or 773-857-0222; ...


Gay News

THEATER Spotlight on Hurricane Damage 2018-08-15 - Four gay men cross generations and decades in Hurricane Damage—Kevin Brofsky's funny, sad, hopeful and emotionally layered exploration of dreams snuffed out by ...


Gay News

REVIEW The African Company Presents Richard III 2018-08-14 - By Carlyle Brown. At: Oak Park Festival Theatre, Austin Gardens, 167 Forest Ave., Oak Park. Tickets: 708-300-3896 or https://oakparkfestival.com; $20-$32, free children under ...


Gay News

Martha Wash, singer of 'It's Raining Men,' to star in WaistWatchers The Musical 2018-08-13 - The production that has had audience members "burning off pounds just laughing," according to the Los Angeles Times, WaistWatchers The Musical! makes its ...


Gay News

Goodman New Stages Fest includes Sarah Schulman, Ricardo Gamboa and Paula Vogel 2018-08-13 - This fall, Goodman Theatre presents its New Stages Festival—a free annual celebration and discovery of new plays by some of the country's finest ...


Gay News

Casting announced for natioanl tour of Hello, Dolly! 2018-08-11 - CHICAGO ( August 9, 2018 ) Producer Scott Rudin and Broadway In Chicago are delighted to announce the cast for the first national ...


Gay News

THEATER FEATURE 'Pillowtalk' a love story for post-marriage equality world 2018-08-08 - The audience won't hear the Toni Morrison quote that serves as an intro to playwright Kyoung H. Park's Pillowtalk, running Aug. 17-18 at ...


Gay News

THEATER REVIEW Rick Stone the Blues Man 2018-08-08 - Playwright: JackieTaylor At: Black Ensemble Theater, 4450 N. Clark St. Tickets: $55-$65; BlackEnsemble.org 773-769-4451. Runs through: Aug. 26 Since its debut in ...


 



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.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS

Sponsor
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 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.