About Face Youth Theatre: On the Record | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Arts & Culture » Theater Critic's Choice

About Face Youth Theatre: On the Record

by

comment

A lot of ground gets covered here: 13 young actors tell 14 true tales in 75 minutes, offering an invigoratingly detailed, richly energetic cross section of the gay and lesbian community. This oral-history crazy quilt is derived from more than 100 interviews with Chicagoans of all ages, races, and gender identities, and About Face's enterprising teens prove that good listeners make good witnesses. Against Logan Kibens's brilliant video backdrop, Megan Carney's warmly directed show features memories of the early days of the AIDS epidemic, when Reagan's closeted aides seemed to go from the closet to the clinic in record time. Given that this is a crisis that's never really gone away, it's good that these young people have become too aware for denial. Also on the agenda are a lesbian construction worker who had a crippling accident, a transgender wannabe (who at first thought the word referred to an auto-shop job) inspired by the Phil Donahue Show, and a school principal and his mother who recount his coming out in strategically different ways. A meeting of PFLAG (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) testifies to the power of tolerance to forge true family values. While some of the young actors here display the sort of confidence that invites envy, in this kind of show the shy, sincere ones are even more affecting. Goodman Theatre, 170 N. Dearborn, 312-443-3800. Through August 15: Thursday-Saturday, 8 PM; Sunday, 2 and 8 PM. $25-$28.

Add a comment