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 2019-02-13
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage



by Sarah Katherine Bowden

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Playwright: Hannah Ii-Epstein

At: Berger Park Coach House, 6205 N. Sheridan Rd. Tickets:;$25. Runs through: July 21

There is nothing playing on Chicago stages like Hannah Ii-Epstein's Not One Batu. Many productions may be about drug addiction and family tension, but none are exploring meth culture in Hawaii. Many productions may be outdoors this season, but none are likely to examine the Lake Michigan setting in Berger Park as both paradise and prison.

Director Rachel Slavick's ensemble for Nothing Without a Company features a wealth of talented actors with roots in the Pacific Islands. In both content and casting, Not One Batu is unique. That uniqueness is one of its greatest asset, as the ensemble and subject matter blend to create an unforgettable evening of theatre.

Honey Girl ( Marie Tredway ) is a meth dealer waiting for her customers in an seaside park. Her Ma ( Lelea'e "Buffy" Kahalepuna-Wong ) drops by one evening to hash out their estrangement and reconnect with her daughter.

Honey's customers include a Marine named Toully ( Tony Rossi ), her Book of Mormon-thumping friend Sherrie ( Gloria Alvarez ), and a jumpy user named Max ( Jae K. Renfrow ). Honey Girl had been a meth user in the past, but recently stopped in order to pass drug tests and regain custody of her child, Junior. She plans to live with her kid and Braddah ( Ian Voltaire Deanes ), as long as Ma does not spoil her plans by bringing the chaos of her own drug use into her daughter's life.

Ii-Epstein is from Hawaii, and creates a complex world of shifting alliances and good-natured ribbing in this drama. As they struggle with the inequities and dissatisfaction of living in paradise, there is never a doubt that the men and women onstage feel legitimate affection for one another.

Slavick gives her ensemble plenty of room to move in the park space. She isolates Tredway in one corner of the park, often facing the water when other characters smoke meth, so the audience understands how she is able to deny how her own drug-dealing is affecting her loved ones. When a fight erupts, Slavick and fight choreographer Jaq Seifert move the action as close to the audience as possible, bringing us into the energy of an unpredictable park brawl.

All the actors ( the ensemble also includes Scott Hanada, Bobby Wilhelmson and Heather Jencks ) do fine work, and they handle the complications of performing in a public space with aplomb. The company rolls with the noise of nearby traffic and conversation, even playing with people on the common-area bike path.

One final note about this production's singularity: It features musical performances by the Aloha Center of Chicago at the start of each show. The joy and pride on display during that section nicely set the stage for the mix of elation and sorrow to come.

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

THEATER REVIEW How I Learned to Drive 2019-02-19 - By: Paula Vogel At: Raven Theatre, 6157 N. Clark St.; $41-$46. Runs through: March 24 Despite the script's Pulitzer-elevated status ...

Gay News

THEATER REVIEW Dear Evan Hansen 2019-02-19 - Authors: Steven Levenson ( book ), Benj Pasek & Justin Paul ( music/lyrics ) At: Nederlander Theatre, 24 W. Randolph St. Tickets:; ...

Gay News

THEATER REVIEW The Total Bent 2019-02-15 - Authors: Stew and Heidi Rodewald At: The Den Theatre, 1616 N. Wells St. Tickets:; $35. Runs through: March 10 ...

Gay News

THEATER REVIEW Fulfillment Center 2019-02-13 - Playwright: Abe Koogler At: A Red Orchid Theatre, 1531 N. Wells St. Tickets: $30-40; Runs through: March 24 These ...

Gay News

Nederlander Theatre lights marquee 2019-02-13 - Broadway In Chicago's newly named James M. Nederlander Theatre recently lit its marquee for the first time. The venue, at 24 W. ...

Gay News

The Jeff Awards to present panel on Latinx Theater 2019-02-12 - February 12, 2019, Chicago, IL - The Jeff Awards meeting on Monday, February 18, 2019 at the Greenhouse Theater will include a panel ...

Gay News

SPOTLIGHT on Underscore Theatre's Chicago Musical Theatre Festival 2019-02-12 - Is the next Hamilton lurking in Chicago? Stranger things have happened. Underscore Theatre's ambitious 5th Annual Chicago Musical Theatre Festival includes nine concert ...

Gay News

Critics' Picks 2019-02-12 - A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder, Porchlight Music Theatre at the Ruth Page Auditorium, through March 16. A score that hearkens to ...

Gay News

THEATER REVIEW A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder 2019-02-12 - Playwright: Book by Robert L. Freedman, music by Steven Lutvak, lyrics by Robert L. Freedman and Steven Lutvak At: Porchlight Music Theater at ...

Gay News

THEATER REVIEW Pipeline 2019-02-12 - Playwright: Dominique Morisseau At: Victory Gardens Theater, 2433 N. Lincoln Ave.. Tickets: $27-60; . Runs through: March 3 Thinking about ...


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.








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.