Loves Light in Flight, ETA Creative Arts Foundation. Venus Stratford has an entrepreneur husband who treats her like a child. Halsted Bridges has a corporate-dragon ex-wife who treats him like a pet. Halsted's sister and brother-in-law, Burnetta and Leonard, alternate between fighting and fornicating with the ferocity of tigers, and his best buddy, Earl, is beset by the mothers of the many illegitimate children he's fathered. Surrounded by so much selfishness and deception, it's no wonder that Halsted and Venus should be attracted to each other. But even after all their adversaries have gotten their just deserts, these two wise lovers know better than to expect happily-ever-after right away.
For its 25th-anniversary season ETA has restaged its 1987 hit Loves Light in Flight, Charles Michael Moore's romantic parable, whose commentary on the relations between men and women is concealed beneath a screwball-comedy plot and sitcom characters. Under Moore's direction, the production proceeds at a brisk, smooth pace. Paul Hobbs and Tyla as Halsted and Venus make an engaging pair of lovers, besieged but never eclipsed by the gaggle of grotesques fearlessly depicted by a team of seasoned ETA regulars. (The special tag-team award goes to Martrice Edge and Ron Pearson as the squabbling Burnetta and Leonard.)
"Good theater does not stop at McCormick Place!" ETA artistic director Abena Joan Brown informed the crowd at this year's Jeff Citation ceremonies. Loves Light in Flight is proof positive of that.
--Mary Shen Barnidge