Loy Webb’s The Light is an enjoyable and moving experience presented in the intimate setting of The Den Theatre on Milwaukee Avenue in Chicago’s Wicker Park. A small venue where the stage is surrounded on three sides by the audience, it is perfect for this production. The setting of the one-act play is a small Hyde Park condo and even before it starts you get a feeling like you’re going to see some real life happen.
Funny, moving and relevant
Rashad (Jeffery Owen Feelon Jr.) is a bright, talented, and hardworking young Chicago firefighter who has been dealt some unfortunate hands in life. But he is basking in the joy of a beautiful relationship with his girlfriend, Genesis (Tiffany Oglesby), a successful public school principal, whom he is about to surprise on their one year anniversary as a couple. The story opens with sweet, funny banter between two people who clearly love each other. Rashad’s gifts suddenly turn sour as Genesis has a very serious issue with one of them, an issue that he can’t quite comprehend.
The conundrum that follows is jarring and believable. They are faced with a highly emotional and exasperating situation. Dealing with the inescapable challenges of racism in their professional lives and the timely issue of sexual violence, it becomes clear how much both have had to overcome. But the fact also surfaces that, as a black woman, Genesis has suffered so much more. You want these two very likeable people to work it out and to save their relationship, but it’s difficult to see how it can happen. Much of it is the almost classic dissonance between the male and female point of view, and the earnest attempt to understand each other. Loy Webb’s clever and well executed script will tug at your heart while maintaining a glimmer of hope.
The actors are amazing. You quickly forget that you are watching a play. Jeffery Owen Feelon Jr.’s Rashad as a kind hearted, strong and opinionated man who truly loves his woman and his family (his mother and young child from another woman) is very believable. His oftentimes failed attempt to understand his girlfriend’s troubles are all too true-to-life. Tiffany Oglesby’s Genesis character is well grounded, a woman who has kept her life together while dealing with a painful reality for years. Her emotional outpouring is so realistic that it is truly heartbreaking.
The Light is 90 minutes long with no intermission and contains some strong language and graphic discussion of sexual violence.
Through Sunday, February 4, 2018
Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 pm; Sundays at 3 pm
The Den Theatre (2B)
1333 N. Milwaukee Ave.
Chicago, IL 60622
$20 general seating available at the New Colony website
Note: An excerpt of this review appears in Theatre in Chicago
Steve Bellinger was born and raised on the West Side of Chicago by a single mom who worked nights for a printing company. She would bring home books and magazines to encourage her kids to read. This is how he discovered Isaac Asimov, Robert Heinlein, Arthur C. Clarke and the other masters of classic science fiction. It didn’t take long for him to get the itch to write. Over the years he’s written everything from newspaper articles, comic strips and radio drama to short stories and fan fiction. He is the author of the science fiction time travel novel The Chronocar. His second novel, Edge of Perception is due to be released in 2018..
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