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 2018-07-11
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

THEATER Raven heats up with 'Suddenly Last Summer'
by Catey Sullivan
2018-05-09

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


For iconic gay playwright Tennessee Williams, love was never about hearts and flowers. The passions that fuel his mighty body of work ( A Streetcar Named Desire, The Glass Menagerie, Cat on a Hot Tin roof ) are ruinous rather than rose-tinted. As Williams points out early in Suddenly Last Summer, the Venus Flytrap—a "devouring organism"—is named for the Goddess of Love.

Running through Sunday, June 17, at Rogers Park's Raven Theatre, Suddenly Last Summer is a torrid Southern gothic mystery revolving around the mysterious death of a young gay poet. The plot deals with cannibalism and lobotomies and the truly shocking lengths one family will go to keep its secrets closeted.

"'This is a play about the muzzling of a strong female voice," said director Jason Gerace. "It mirrors today's society in that we all want our opinions heard, but we're often losing the ability to argue in a constructive matter."

The strong female voice at the nexus of Suddenly Last Summer belongs to Catherine Holly ( Grayson Heyl ), the beloved sister of the late poet Sebastian. At lights up, Catherine is confined to a mental hospital. Her aunt Violet ( Mary K. Nigohosian ) is determined to silence Catherine—thereby keeping the horrific details about Sebastian's murder a deeply buried secret.

Violet's final solution is lobotomizing Catherine, a procedure that was cutting edge during the play's mid-20th-century setting. Williams was tragically familiar with the impact of lobotomies, which involve driving a sharp spike through the skull of the patient and essentially turning off a section of the brain. The operation was often used on violent patients, rendering them docile, vacant and calm. Rose's life was snuffed out in many respects," said Gerace. "She was vibrant, beautiful and strong-minded. She was brutally oppressed. Williams never got over his anger."

As Williams' razor-wire dialogue moves relentlessly toward revelation, it takes on the urgency of a suicide mission. The details of Sebastian's death remain as shocking today as they were when the play debuted in 1958. As the one-act progresses, the audience becomes a fly-on-the-wall for a harrowing journey through sex, loneliness, violence and—this above all else—secrecy.

Despite the barbarically outdated medical practices, Suddenly, Last Summer remains eerily of-the-moment: The questions the drama elicits aren't only applicable to a tragedy set more than half a century ago in New Orleans' Garden District, Heyl said.

"Whose truth is the correct truth? Who gets to decide which is right? What happens when somebody in power insists 'alternative facts' are the real truth, because the real truth is inconvenient?" Heyl said.

'Suddenly Last summer mirrors today's society. We all want our opinion heard, but sometimes we refuse to listen to others. I feel like we're losing the ability to argue in a constructive manner. Especially on social media where it's so easy to just attack someone," Heyl added.

Class issues also rear up within Williams' play, Gerace said. "The play is all about devouring, literally and metaphorically. It's about how the rich or powerful can devour the poor, even if they're in their own family," he said.

As a doctor called in to treat Catherine, Wardell Julius Clark plays one of the drama's most intriguing characters, a psychologist asked to do monstrous things by a woman he can ill afford to deny. Dr. Cukrowicz may be a supporting lead, but the weight of his decisions has a profound impact on every single person around him. In some ways, he's the reluctant moral compass of the tragedy.

"He is passionate about his job and compassionate with his patients," Clark said of his role. "He truly believes he is helping and the practice ( of lobotomy ) while fairly new and radical, does have positive initial effects. But he has a real problem about the lack of certainty with long term effects and the need for the procedure on many patients. He has a great deal of heart and and weighs each decision very carefully."

For Gerace, Suddenly Last Summer hits the sweet spot of provocation, leaving audience members to question their own beliefs the events leading up to the fateful meeting among Violet, Catherine and Dr. Cukrowicz.

"Why do we allow people who are wealthy and powerful say something factual is actually false just because they don't like the facts? Gerace asked. "If enough people in power say so, what's false becomes recognized as true." The play also asks "what lengths we'll go to in order to keep a woman quiet," Gerace said.

For Catherine, those lengths are potentially lethal. For Violet, they're rooted in denial as unmoving as granite. Gerace hopes the play lays bare the danger of complicity.

"When there's a woman talking about something we don't like, why are we always so determined to stop them any way we can? That's something we're dealing with today," he said.

Suddenly Last Summer runs through Sunday, June 17, at Raven Theatre, 6157 N. Clark St. General-admission tickets are $43-46; $38-$41 for seniors and teachers; $15 students for active military and veterans; and $30 anyone under 30 for Thursday performances. Visit RavenTheatre.com .


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

Immigration event July 18 at Victory Gardens Theater 2018-07-13 - Victory Gardens Theater will present "Town Hall: Reunite!," an event where Chicago artists will respond to the current immigration policies of the United ...


Gay News

Milly's Orchid Show "Summer Musical Spectacular Extravaganza" 2018-07-11 - One-Night-Only Engagement Features Brigid Murphy as Host Milly May and Stars David Cale with Matthew Dean Marsh on Piano and Vocals, and More ...


Gay News

THEATER About Face Youth's 'Stories' examines everyday horrors 2018-07-11 - Forget werewolves, aliens zombies and creatures from the black lagoon. The real monsters are lurking within and among us. With Scary Stories to ...


Gay News

THEATER REVIEW Sagittarius Ponderosa 2018-07-11 - Playwright: MJ Kaufman At: Redtwist Theatre, 1044 W. Bryn Mawr Ave. Tickets: 773-728-7529; Redtwist.org; $35-$40. Runs through: July 29 Sagittarius Ponderosa ...


Gay News

THEATER REVIEW Support Group for Men 2018-07-11 - Playwright: Ellen Fairey At: Goodman Theatre, 170 N. Dearborn St. Tickets: Goodmantheatre.org; $25-$80. Runs through: July 29 It's tempting to ...


Gay News

Critics' Picks 2018-07-11 - Support Group for Men, Goodman Theatre, through July 29. These are confusing times for everyone, but Ellen Fairey doesn't neglect the other half ...


Gay News

THEATER SPOTLIGHT Tilikum 2018-07-11 - Kristiana Rae-Colon's hypnotically gorgeous and emotionally shattering drama Tilikum delves into the legacy of slavery, the obscene profits of the prison-industrial complex and ...


Gay News

About Face Theatre Announces 2018-19 Season 2018-07-10 - CHICAGO ( July 10, 2018 ) — About Face Theatre is pleased to announce its 2018-19 Season, featuring three groundbreaking productions including the ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ Pet Shop Boys, Oprah, 'Chicago' suicide, Idris Elba 2018-07-10 - Pet Shop Boys ( PSB ) will release the final set of albums in their CATALOGUE: 1985-2012 series of reissues of all their ...


Gay News

Five Worth Finding 2018-07-10 - —Chicago Magic Lounge ( https://www.chicagomagiclounge.com/ ): As the saying goes, "Prepare to be amazed." The Andersonville spot ( which might require a little ...


 



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


 



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.