With his trilogy "The Brother/Sister Plays," Tarell Alvin McCraney announced himself as a talented young writer wielding a big vision. He also staked out a territory. The Plays—which Steppenwolf Theatre Company staged, beautifully, in 2010—are set in the Louisiana bayou country, among black folk who live on land easily mistaken for water, and who survive at the pleasure of hurricanes. Perhaps more important, they map out a spiritual homeland—gritty, even sordid, yet mythic in its resonances. Ex-cons and pregnant teenagers bear the names of Yoruba deities.
McCraney's new Head of Passes locates itself along similar geographic and metaphysical coordinates. The title refers to the marshlands surrounding the spot at the southernmost edge of Louisiana, where the Mississippi River meets the Gulf of Mexico. The community of the play is modest, mostly black, and as deeply rooted as it can be given the spongy terrain and periodically apocalyptic weather. As he did with "The Brother/Sister Plays," McCraney denotes the time period, suggestively, as the "distant present." Continue reading >> $20-$78
Three repertory productions presented in collaboration with Northwestern University's MFA programs. $20
The Second City's top performers present their interactive improv every week, directed by Mick Napier. $16
There's more to Chicago than Italian beef and the Magnificent Mile, as illustrated by this sketch show. $28
Each monthly REACH — "Risky, Eclectic Artists Comedy Hour" — features performances themed around sex, race, violence, and LGBT issues. $13
Second City's 36th Revue. $23-$28