In the Heart of America | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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In the Heart of America

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With its focus on homophobia, anti-Muslim attacks, and the lingering ghosts of Vietnam, Naomi Wallace's 1994 play seems the perfect candidate for revival as we're confronted by Gulf War II and a second Bush administration. The performances are mostly excellent, yet this production directed by Dana Friedman and John Kahara (as part of Prop Thtr's Emerging Directors Series) largely fails to ignite at either the emotional or the intellectual level. In part I suspect Wallace's beautifully crafted but elliptical turns of phrase and dreamscape settings have been rendered quaint by the stark reality of what happened at Abu Ghraib and by the escalating body counts in Iraq. In the end we learn little that we don't already know about the prejudice and nationalistic sense of entitlement still nestled at the heart of American ideology. Through 2/6: Thu-Sat 8 PM, Sun 2 PM. Prop Thtr, 3502-4 N. Elston, 773-539-7838. $20.

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