About Face Youth Theatre: Inside Out | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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About Face Youth Theatre: Inside Out

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About Face Youth Theatre: Inside Out, About Face Theatre. The fourth installment of About Face's bi-gay-lesbian youth ensemble assembles real-life stories about how hard it is for teens to be labeled, depicting the minefield of misinformation, pigeonholing, and conflicting expectations faced by kids as they explore their sexual identities. Shaped by the 18-member ensemble and directed by a staff headed by Megan Carney, this 90-minute action-packed confessional focuses on specifics: whether long hair defines your sex, which bathroom to use when you're not sure which side you're on, and what to do when you're a boy and discover that your mother is more enthusiastic about your interest in her wardrobe than you are. A Latina torn between Mexico and the United States feels unwelcome in both, while her aunt who was "white" in Mexico is "brown" once she crosses the border. In the most serious and uplifting story, a Jamaican boy comes to Chicago only to be kicked out by his American aunt for being sissified; happily he finds asylum in the least likely place.

The About Face teenagers are mining their richest vein yet: the search for a place where one belongs transcends youth and all the classifications they fear define or diminish them. Sadly, Inside Out marks the final show at the soon-to-be demolished Jane Addams Hull House, a treasure that over the last 40 years has hosted Steppenwolf, Bailiwick, and Famous Door as well as About Face.

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