Keely and Du confuses torture porn with social commentary | Theater Review | Chicago Reader

Arts & Culture » Theater Review

Keely and Du confuses torture porn with social commentary

Jane Martin's story of a pregnant rape victim kidnapped by antichoice extremists wallows in both-sidesism.

by

Sign up for our newsletters Subscribe

comment

For decades, there has been speculation as to the identity of playwright "Jane Martin." One thing is clear after watching Martin's atrocious Keely and Du. There's no way anyone capable of ever needing an abortion could have written this reprehensible piece of "let's-look-at-both-sides" false equivalency. Not even the most stellar four-person cast (director Michelle Altman's quartet is two-quarters competent) could make this work. The plot follows antichoice terrorists Du (Mary Mikva) and Walter (Scott Olson, chewing the scenery into toothpicks) after they kidnap Keely (Andie Dae), a pregnant rape victim, from the clinic where she's seeking an abortion. They drug her and tie her to a bed in a windowless bunker. They bring her rapist (Bob Romay, chewing toothpicks into sawdust) to her bedside and force Keely to make a show of forgiving him. They bombard Keely with gruesome pamphlets and fire-and-brimstone Bible thumping. They gaslight her with "facts" about abortion's devastating impact on mental health. And then "Martin" brings in a coat hanger and a needlessly prolonged scene that's flat-out torture porn.

After all this, the audience is asked to believe that Keely forms a lasting friendship with Du—who Martin paints as a sweet old grandmotherly type who is simply doing what she must to save babies and serve God. The fact that Keely is a woman of color and her captors are white makes the rapprochement between the women absolutely odious. Still, spending almost two hours (Altman's pacing is sluggish at best and gratuitously gruesome at worst) watching three people brutally abuse a woman who is chained to a bed will surely appeal to some. POTUS and all those legislators closing down clinics would probably subpoena Martin's true identity so they could hire the playwright as a publicist.  v

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