Prospect | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Little gets solved in this play, just like in real life; and the plot meanders even more than real life. But the funny/sad characters in Octavio Solis's remarkable Prospect, each solidly written and wiser than words, generate interest that transcends mere plot machinations. In real life we'd cross the street to avoid these losers, but Solis, employing equal doses of humor and compassion, holds us in their presence long enough to taste their crazy humanity. The setting is Dallas, and at the center of the story is Scout (played by Andrew Carrillo), a depressed young Mexican computer programmer who's cut himself off from his Latino roots and taken his nickname from his gringo act of turning Eagle Scout. We also meet easygoing Liza (Peggy Dunne) and her drug-dealing boyfriend Vince (Thomas Carroll). But most unforgettable is Vince's wife Elena: dying of cancer, she still works to put Scout back in touch with his roots, while he reminds her of a time when her husband was not a source of pain or a reason to escape. Consuelo Allen plays Elena with a fusion of saintly radiance and intensity and the volatile moods of a dying addict, charging Solis's psychological truths with her own combustibility. The Latino Chicago Theater Company premiered the work in 1992 with invigorating direction by Ralph Flores; now they're taking it to the prestigious Edinburgh Arts Festival in August. As a prelude, Latino Chicago offer a week of preview performances. The Firehouse, 1625 N. Damen, 486-5120. Opens Friday, July 30, 8 PM. Through August 8: Fridays-Saturdays, 8 PM; Sundays, 7 PM. $10; $25 for the benefit shows on Friday and Saturday, July 30 and 31.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Suzanne Plunkett.

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