Monday, March 5, 2018

REVIEW: Lookingglass' Plantation Reparation Comedy Reaps Laughs and Launches Long Due Dialogue

Chi, IL LIVE Shows On Our Radar: 

World Premiere
Written by Ensemble Member Kevin Douglas
Directed by Ensemble Member David Schwimmer
February 21 - April 22, 2018

 Recommended for ages 13+

All photos by Liz Lauren

PLANTATION! is too much fun and a highly recommended must see. In this world premiere, Kevin Douglas and Lookingglass Theatre tackle our uncomfortable collective past with so much wisdom and humor, its a joy to see. We love this well intentioned reparation scenario and the chaos that ensues! Douglas has the unique viewpoint of moving from Canada to Texas as a child and growing up with a cast of real life Texas characters. His childhood experiences along with later ideas gleaned in Chicago, sparked some of the dialogue and characters for this vital and ferociously funny work. There's not a weak link in the entire cast of women, and their rapport and interactions are deliciously devious and delightful to watch. 

America's past relationship with slavery and ongoing racism is a tough and touchy topic, even for those who claim to be "woke" and actively work for racial equity and justice. I have friends whose family tree includes both slaves and their white rapists and/or slave owners. It's complicated is an understatement! I'm amazed Kevin Douglas was willing and able to tackle these nuanced complexities in a compassionate way that's comedic gold. 

Here at ChiIL Mama & ChiIL Live Shows we can't rave enough about this black (and white) comedy with an all female cast! playwright Kevin Douglas is crazy talented and insightful. We're so jazzed he's bringing race relations, reparations, and issues to the stage with wit and wisdom. Add to that, infamous friend and Lookingglass ensemble Member, David Schwimmer directing, this is undoubtedly one to see.

With eight fierce women battling over their home, future, and past, Plantation! is also a shoo-in to pass the *Bechdel Test. We're huge, long time Lookingglass fans and thrilled they've staged the world premiere of Plantation! and launched a long overdue dialogue on America's uncomfortable past.

*The Bechdel Test is designed to highlight female-positive works of fiction with an active female presence and to call attention to gender inequality. The Bechdel Test, sometimes called the Bechdel Rule is a pass/fail test which names the following three criteria: (1) it has to have at least two women in it, who (2) who talk to each other, about (3) something besides a man.

Make It Better names Plantation! one of the "12 Can't-Miss Plays in Chicago This Winter"  

The FUN-comfortable Comedy

Look who’s coming to tea…

A Texas matriarch, bless her heart, discovers that the history of the ancestral home is, well…complicated. When she reveals the news to her Southern Belle daughters, tempers rage hotter than the devil’s armpit and pandemonium runs amok on the pristine plantation…and that’s before the other set of sisters arrive. 

Ensemble Member and playwright Kevin Douglas (Thaddeus and Slocum: A Vaudeville Adventure) returns with a sharp pen and sharper wit to slash into America’s thorniest underbrush and most enduring conundrum. Ensemble Member David Schwimmer directs this World Premiere black (and white) comedy. 

Ensemble Member David Schwimmer (RACE, Big Lake Big City) directs this World Premiere black (and white) comedy by Ensemble Member Kevin Douglas (Thaddeus and Slocum: A Vaudeville Adventure).

Plantation! features Ensemble Member Louise Lamson (Kimberly) and Artistic Associate Ericka Ratcliff (Sydney), with Hannah Gomez (Diana), Lily Mojekwu (London), Linsey Page Morton (Kara), Tamberla Perry (Madison), Grace Smith (Kayley) and Janet Ulrich Brooks (Lillian).

The creative team includes Courtney O’Neill (scenic), Ensemble Member Mara Blumenfeld (costumes), Artistic Associates Christine A. Binder (lighting) and Rick Sims (sound and composition), with Amanda Herrmann (props), Eva Breneman (dialect) and Ari Clouse (stage manager).

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