Final Angel, Fine Arts Enterprises, at Theatre Building Chicago. Stephanie Lenore Kuehn's metaphorical dreamscape is based on an actual assault on Chicago actress Lynn Green. Kuehn invokes the myth of Persephone--who was taken to the underworld and raped by Hades--as an archetype representing death and transformation.
We meet Lil after she's been raped, rocking with rage against her baffled husband, Sam (John Sierros). She won't eat and can't sleep. She's afraid to dream. Wooed by the Angel of Death (Michael Ingram), Lil finds him very seductive, a dandy. He seems sincere. Though drawn to him, Lil agrees to see a shrink. Dr. Persephone is evasive about her credentials, but Lil grows stronger under her erratic guidance. Ora Jones is in her element as the bemused goddess, a knowing sistergirl who puts it to you that hell is part of life. And Justine Scarpa perfectly embodies Lil, the empowered victim-recluse, with her frail form, seen-it-all voice, and red-rimmed eyes set in a Faye Dunaway face.
Final Angel is imaginatively staged by Jim Dennen but a bit slowly paced. The play's presiding metaphor is so compelling that audiences could be swept along by Kuehn's inventiveness alone, but we're given time to search for texture and detail in the empty spaces.