Julie Johnson | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

Arts & Culture » Performing Arts Review

Julie Johnson

by

Sign up for our newsletters Subscribe

comment

Julie Johnson, Bailiwick Repertory.

Somewhere in the middle of Wendy Hammond's humorless, overwritten, painfully predictable Julie Johnson is an interesting play. In fact, two or three of them. Unfortunately they've already been written.

The play begins like Educating Rita, with a working-class woman who returns to school and finds herself, under the tutelage of an eccentric (aren't they all?) academic. Halfway through the first act Hammond replaces Educating Rita with The Children's Hour, and Julie declares her love to her best friend, Claire, and then must confront the shocked responses of her family, friends, and Claire herself.

The strongest sections of the play deal directly with Julie and Claire's difficult relationship, but even these few scenes suffer from Hammond's tendency to say in six lines what could be said in two--a flaw only accentuated by Cecilie D. Keenan's uninspired direction and the competent but unamazing cast.

This tiresome work was featured as part of the 1994 Humana Festival of New American Plays, which speaks volumes about the decline of serious playwriting in this country.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Roger Lewin--Jennifer Girard Studio.

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?

  Reader Revolutionary $35/month →  
  Rabble Rouser $25/month →  
  Reader Radical $15/month →  
  Reader Rebel  $5/month  → 

Not ready to commit? Send us what you can!

 One-time donation  →