Functioning like a theatrical Richter scale, Survivors measures the damage done to a woman named Billie by her abusive, socially respected father. Refusing evenhandedness, playwright L.A. Ross's uncompromising one-act details the damage wrought by incest with as much compassion as a survivor can supply. To deal with Billie's trauma, Ross gives her two personas, played by two actors, who serve as agents of healing, reminding her of the life beneath the hurt and her capacity to love and holding out the hope that nature, music, and new love will heal the pain. Billie faces the facts of her childhood violation in the final searing scene, and the playwright doesn't spare us the details of her still-burning memory: this play is not about denial, nor is it a clinical case history. Performed last fall at the Playwright's Center in a workshop production, Ross's raw and vivid work is here revived in a new staging by Andrea Chambers. Cafe Voltaire, 3231 N. Clark, 708-393-7916. Through August 25: Wednesdays, 9 PM. $5-$10 (sliding scale "as your resources allow").
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Julie Phelan.