Her Story Theater presents Invisible, portraying the dawn of the Women's KKK in patriarchal Mississippi and an imagined tale of resistance
Her Story Theater Presents Historical Drama
Looking at the two women in ill-fitting Klan costumes—hoods and all—near the end of the play, giving speeches that one can imagine are from the real historic record, we feel revulsion. More, as they mention their work of creating poison squads that spread rumors and disinformation to help Klansmen get elected, we feel the eerie continuity of this story with the nativist strains in America today. Invisible succeeds and then some to meet Her Story Theater’s stated mission we read of in the program notes “to shine bright lights in dark places”.
Invisible puts us in a rural Mississippi town some sixty years after the Civil War’s end and not long after women got the vote. In every line of the script playwright Mary Bonnett makes the point that we are in the land of patriarchy as far as the eye can see. Rather, until we get to Jubal Jones’ house (played by Lisa McConnell), an imagined artist and much tattooed sophisticate who had travelled the globe a bit and somehow planted in this backwater town in a house beside one of the Native American burial mounds that one finds in Mississippi, as in Illinois. She carries on like a crazy woman quite purposefully, in order to scare off the Whites around her. Living with her is an albino wild girl who is feared for her ability to speak to ghosts (Ghost Girl, played with vibrancy by Maddy Fleming).
Unlike these two quite original characters are the head of the local women’s Klan (Lucinda Davis, played by Barbara Roeder Harris), her daughter-in-law (Doris Davis played by Megan Kaminsky), a Chicago reporter (Mr. Stein played by Richard Cotovsky), and a storeowner and his outsider wife from Missouri (Tom Carson played by Brad Harbaugh and Mabel Carson played by Morgan Laurel Cohen).
By this writer’s lights, Harbaugh and Cohen’s performances are especially compelling in no small way because the playwright gave them relatively more with which to work. Unfortunately, some of the other characters don’t pass the reality smell test even though it seems we are supposed to take them at face value as realistic. Some may feel similar to this writer that several of the characters are being drawn by the playwright’s pen heavy on 2D stereotyping, and particularly the cringe worthy portrayal of Mr. Stein’s Jewish heritage.
If you support the mission of Her Story Theater and especially if you relish theater that helps you learn about new things, Invisible is a top pick for your time. Like Chicago Shakespeare’s A Man of Good Hope, expect to learn a lot from Invisible and become intrigued to learn more. Her Story Theater Artistic Director and author of this work, by this writer’s lights, can consider Invisible as mission accomplished.
Written by Mary Bonnett
Directed by Cecilie Keenan
Barbara Roeder Harris, Lisa McConnell, Richard Cotovsky, Morgan Laurel Cohen, Brad Harbaugh, Megan Kaminsky, and Maddy Flemming
Kevin Rolfs (Set Design), Shelbi Wilkin (Costume Design), Parker Langvardt and Jimmy Marcos (Projection Design), Blake Cordell (Lighting and Sound Design), Myesha-Tiara, (Assistant Director), Sean Smyth (Stage Manager), Jamise Wright (Assistant Stage Manager), Auden Granger (Wardrobe Supervisor, Props Manager), Violent
Delights and Amber Wutke (Fight Coordinator), Michael Brosilow (Production Photographer).
Thru November 03, 2019
Thursdays – Saturdays at 7:30 pm
Sundays at 3 pm
Saturday, November 2 at 3:00 pm
1225 W. Belmont Ave.