In the Spotlight | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

Sign up for our newsletters Subscribe


In the Spotlight, New Leaf Theatre, at the Lincoln Park Cultural Center. In An Idle King, the first one-act on a program of three written by New Leaf company member Brandon Ray, an elderly couple consider their status as the only survivors among their circle of friends. In the second, Faultless, a blocked jazz musician gropes in vain for the melody that will win back his wife's love and respect. And in Faster Than a Speeding Bullet, Diana Prince and Hal Jordan (aka Wonder Woman and Green Lantern) encourage coworker Clark Kent to lighten up when it comes to off-duty romances.

Ray, who writes with an uncommon maturity and compassion, never patronizes his characters in the interest of showing off his own cleverness, instead maintaining a bittersweet humor about the ironies of the human--or superhuman--condition. And though last-minute cast replacements required a few actors to work from camouflaged scripts at the performance I attended, the players' expertise, under Lila M. Stromer's direction, made for personalities at once recognizable and individual.

Faster Than a Speeding Bullet rambles a bit, and the songwriter's spoken-word rhapsodies in Faultless need some fine-tuning. But the first entry in New Leaf's proposed annual local playwright series suggests it will be a fresh addition to the scene.

Support Independent Chicago Journalism: Join the Reader Revolution

We speak Chicago to Chicagoans, but we couldn’t do it without your help. Every dollar you give helps us continue to explore and report on the diverse happenings of our city. Our reporters scour Chicago in search of what’s new, what’s now, and what’s next. Stay connected to our city’s pulse by joining the Reader Revolution.

Are you in?

  Give $35/month →  
  Give $10/month →  
  Give  $5/month  → 

Not ready to commit? Send us what you can!

 One-time donation  → 

Add a comment