The Theory of Everything | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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The Theory of Everything


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The Theory of Everything, DueEast Theatre Company, at Wing & Groove Theatre. Seven people meet every Saturday on the roof of a Las Vegas wedding chapel to watch for UFOs. Three generations are represented: the elderly May, her daughter Patty and son-in-law Hiro, Patty's friend Shimmy, her son Gilbert and his chums, siblings Lana and Nef. All come with age-appropriate concerns: Patty can't have children, Hiro is homesick for the old country, Lana has just flunked out of law school. But this week something more compelling than alien sightings upsets the status quo.

Oh, by the way--Shimmy and Gilbert are Filipino, Lana and Nef are second-generation Chinese, Patty and May are Thai, and Hiro is Japanese. What makes Prince Gomolvilas's The Theory of Everything (receiving its midwest premiere) so refreshing is that the characters could belong to any ethnic minority in the United States. Nef recalls a stranger telling him to "go back to the reservation" even as his would-be fiancee's family declares him too "American." Lana and Gilbert feel they've betrayed their filial obligations by following their bliss. Their parents are no less ambivalent. Only May seems at peace with the world.

Allen Sermonia directs an ensemble of skilled professionals in DueEast Theatre Company's inaugural production. Together they flout stereotypes to give Gomolvilas's exploration of cultural values a universal scope.

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