3 Cuba | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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3 Cuba, Rhino in Winter festival, at Live Bait Theater. Two of these three works about Cuba by local writers are disappointing productions of rambling scripts: Frank Melcori's The Cuban Missile Crisis and Scott Turner's Cuban Grouper. But Beau O'Reilly and Sharon Goepfort's adaptation of Achy Obejas's story We Came All the Way From Cuba So You Could Dress Like This? is a solid bit of reader's theater.

Obejas's meditation on the life and cultural complications of a lesbian whose family immigrated to the United States when she was ten years old suspends linear time, jumping about in the consciousness of its heroine as she narrates the ups and downs of her life. Goepfort's low-key but finely tuned performance honors Obejas's metaphors without becoming self-indulgent, and as omniscient narrators go, Goepfort is pretty good; there isn't a dry eye in the house at the end of the story.

Framed by Melcori's and Turner's less successful plays, We Came All the Way loses some of its punch. The three plays do offer different views of Castro, Cuban refugees, and American involvement in Cuban containment, and Paul Leisen's large boat frame is a remarkable set piece in Cuban Grouper. But earnest performances and consistent themes don't add up to much in this uneven triptych, which fails more because Beau O'Reilly and the Rhino Fest are overextended than because of any lack of talent. --Carol Burbank

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