Willy's Cut and Shine | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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Willy's Cut and Shine

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In Michael Bradford's rich play, five African-American men witness a murder outside a barbershop in 1950 Georgia. All are weary of fighting for dignity in a racist world, but only one argues for action against the white killer while the others are afraid to speak out. Bradford captures the experiences of different generations of black men: the young have been traumatized by fighting World War II while the old remember lynchings. But the tone of Derrick Sanders's production is uneven: laughter is the response to some moments that might have been dramatic. Toning down the acting would help--the show works best when the performers settle into their parts and convey the characters' emotional wounds and desire for dignity. Through 6/18: Thu-Sat 8 PM, Sun 3 and 7 PM, ETA Creative Arts Foundation, ETA Square, 7558 S. South Chicago, 773-752-3955, $25, two for one Thu and 7 PM Sun (except closing night).

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