Frozen Stars | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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FROZEN STARS, Victorium Productions, at Viaduct Theatre. This production inaugurates both a Latino-themed company and a spacious new theater hugging a Western Avenue off-ramp. If only they'd found a play worthy of attention. Ponderously written and directed by David-Matthew Barnes and Vanessa Fincher, this ultrasincere depiction of young people who test their friendship as they pursue their dreams is plagued by generic characters, clumsy construction, repetitious dialogue, awkward blocking, histrionics, and a deadening lack of conflict.

Hoping to become a lawyer and escape the town of Rising Star, New Mexico, Lisa Vasquez accepts a scholarship to Harvard, only to succumb to academic pressure, get pregnant, and abandon her dream. Deserted by his family, the gay Manny Rosenberg falls for a sculptor who takes him off to Provincetown. Patti mopes around for a while as a concessionaire at a drive-in, then parlays her poetic skills into a trip to New York with boyfriend Justin.

So what? you may ask. Though the self-pitying characters relentlessly discuss their hopes, memories, dreams, and despair, little happens in the present; what does is utterly predictable. This familiar stuff is passionately performed by an ensemble who milk every Kodak moment. But instead of aiming for feel-good hugs and soulful pauses, the playwright-directors should have made their characters' fear of the future and search for forgiveness more specific. Yelyna DeLeon, Kelly Kinghorn, and Barnes doubtlessly mean every outburst. But emoting is not showing.

--Lawrence Bommer

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