Woman From the Town | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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Woman From the Town

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Inventive, heartfelt performances can't redeem Samm-Art Williams's unfocused script about a successful woman returning to the town that scorned her as a pregnant teenager. The actors are remarkably successful at an impossible task: portraying characters who are both archetypes and individuals. Nonetheless this mating of morality play with naturalistic drama produces only sterility. The play drags, and its plot twists are frustrating instead of intriguing--what the hell is this about, anyway? Young love, sisterly conflict, futile efforts to win over dead parents, iniquitous neighbors, the clash between town and country? Runako Jahi's direction gives equal weight to all the issues and thus clarity to none. But Tyren Thomas as a hayseed Machiavelli and Donna Poole as Sissy, who blows with every prevailing wind, manage to make indelible marks. They and the rest of the ensemble deserve better material. Through 2/27: 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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