Home

Friday, 19 January 2018 22:54

Review: Boy at Timeline Theatre

Long before Jeffrey Eugenide’s novel 2003 ‘Middlesex’ brought intersexuality to the mainstream lexicon, there was David Reimer. ‘BOY’ by Anna Zeigler is a new play inspired by the real life story of a boy raised as a girl after a botched circumcision. Reimer was known only as the “John/Joan” case throughout the medical community until 1997, when he decided to make his story public. He has since committed suicide.

‘BOY’ makes its area premiere at TimeLine Theatre Company under the direction of Damon Kiely. In their intimate space, this small cast tells Zeigler’s version of the John/Joan case. The structure of the play is one its strongest assets. We first meet Adam (Theo Germaine), a shy young man trying to flirt with a girl named Jenny (Emily Marso). Starting here establishes the present tense, or in this case, the early 90s. In alternating scenes, we then meet Adam’s parents Doug and Trudy (Stef Tovar and Mechelle Moe) in the mid-60s. They’re new parents desperate for a way to make normal the life of their infant son whose penis is mutilated in a medical accident. They’re introduced to Dr. Wendell Barnes (David Parkes), the founder of the first American institute on gender. The two stories gradually meet in the middle when Adam must confront his past in order to move into his future.

The brisk pace tells a complete story, if only a little brief. A story as unique as this probably garners more questions than answers. The ensemble works well together to demystify this case study. The courtship between Theo Germaine’s Adam and Emily Morso’s Jenny is endearing. Morso perfectly embodies the dialogue of a tough-girl with a warm side. Whereas Theo Germaine gives one of their best performances yet. Theo swings from child to grown up in the blink of an eye throughout the play and yet, it’s through those swings we can see that Adam never really grows up. Stef Tovar and Mechelle Moe as the stereotypical Iowan family dealing with this surreal reality are impeccable. Moe has the mannerisms down. While Tovar’s character is pretty quiet throughout the play, his final moments on stage with Adam are some of the play’s most touching.

‘BOY’ will surprise many. As the National Geographic pointed out last year, we’re in the midst of a gender revolution. What is the most surprising is how accessible this play is. Unlike Taylor Mac’s comic masterpiece ‘HIR’ – there’s no tone of condescension here. The play is simply a well-structured, fictionalized account of the John/Joan case. It’s as juicy as an episode of the Phil Donahue show but there’s also a lot of heart here, and it begs the bigger question, what would you do? Zeigler’s version of the real life Dr. Money (who wrote about David Reimer extensively) – Wendell Barnes, is written in a way that will make some debate whether or not he genuinely cared for his patient or proving his extreme gender theory. Though, it’s through this (unfortunately) failed experiment that we know so much more about sexual science today.

Through March 18 at TimeLine Theatre Company. 615 W Wellington Ave. 773-281-8463

Published in Theatre in Review

"Southern Gothic" is a 4-D theatre experience with a flare

20 February 2018 in Theatre in Review

Gone are the days of traditional theatre when actors and audience members were politely separated by at least an imaginary…

Cubanismo brings mambo time to McAninch Arts Center

19 February 2018 in In Concert

Cuban Jazz was the flavor at McAninch Arts Center (The MAC) this past weekend, but the band’s labeled genre might…

Excellent Production of The Burn Captures the 'Crucible' That Is High School

18 February 2018 in Theatre in Review

The Burn, a lively tale of a high school drama class putting on Arthur Miller’s The Crucible, is spectacularly good.…

Review: ‘Cosi fan tutte’ at Lyric Opera

18 February 2018 in Theatre in Review

“No woman ever died for love” says Despina in Mozart’s charming little opera ‘Cosi fan tutte’. There may not be…

The Phantom returns in well-worth-the-wait "Love Never Dies"

17 February 2018 in Theatre in Review

If you are a passionate fan of the original "Phantom of the Opera" musical, its sequel "Love Never Dies" will…

Midwest Premier for Time is On Our Side at About Face Theatre

15 February 2018 in Upcoming Theatre

About Face Theatre will present the Midwest premiere of R. Eric Thomas’ gleeful mystery, Time Is On Our Side, directed…

Andrés Enriquez Named Casting Director at Lifeline Theatre

15 February 2018 in Upcoming Theatre

Lifeline Theatre named one of its ensemble member, Andrés Enriquez, to the new staff position of casting director, beginning February…

Steppenwolf Theatre Adds Two New Ensemble Members Celeste M. Cooper and Cliff Chamberlain

15 February 2018 in Upcoming Theatre

Steppenwolf Theatre Company Artistic Director Anna D. Shapiro announced the additions of Celeste M. Cooper and Cliff Chamberlain to its…

Hell in a Handbag Productions Announces 2018 Season

14 February 2018 in Upcoming Theatre

Hell in a Handbag Productions is pleased to announce its 2018 season, kicking off this spring with a revival of…

Postmodern Jukebox and tUnE-yArDs artists join Broadway talent for North American premiere of Jesus Christ Superstar at Lyric Opera

13 February 2018 in Upcoming Theatre

Artists from the bands Postmodern Jukebox, tUnE-yArDs and Diane Coffee join Broadway and West End talent for Lyric Opera’s North…

Sideshow Theatre Company's YOU FOR ME FOR YOU - March 4 - April 8, 2018 at Victory Gardens Theater

12 February 2018 in Upcoming Theatre

Sideshow Theatre Company is pleased to launch its eleventh season with the Chicago premiere of Mia Chung’s absurdly inventive smash-hit …

Broken Nose Theatre Presents KINGDOM - March 2 - 31, 2018 at The Den Theatre

12 February 2018 in Upcoming Theatre

Broken Nose Theatre is pleased to launch its 2018 Season with the world premiere of resident playwright Michael Allen Harris’…

 

 

10 Years! Fave Issue Covers

Register

Latest Articles

Guests Online

We have 99 guests and no members online

Buzz Chicago on Facebook Buzz Chicago on Twitter