Birth of a Sun | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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Birth of a Sun



BIRTH OF A SUN, hOstage tHeater cOmpany, at Voltaire. Playwright S. Lamar Jordan doesn't believe in following a formula. His last play, Wallfly, made for a sprawling, loquacious, quasi-surreal slice-of-life evening. It couldn't be more different from this stripped-down, 20-minute Beckettian one-act. Two characters, Black and White (played on different nights by different actors drawn from a cast of four), wake after the apocalypse with memories of almost nothing beyond a blinding flash and a searing pain. With only an ambiguous instruction manual left them by an entity known as It, they stagger about in general bewilderment, torn between recollecting a past and imagining a future.

Jordan's willingness to experiment with diverse dramatic forms is admirable, but the kind of complex, ambiguous motivations that drove his characters in Wallfly are all but absent in Birth of a Sun. Black and White spend most of their time describing their predicament rather than working to overcome it. And while they're adamant about trying to remember things from their former lives--dance, art, beauty, love--it's never clear what consequences they'll face if they fail. Jordan seems to be aiming for his own version of the Genesis story, but he's left his Adam and Eve without a clear stake in their own dilemma.

--Justin Hayford

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