An Ecstasy of Dragonflies | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

An Ecstasy of Dragonflies 

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An Ecstasy of Dragonflies, City Lit Theater Company. New playwright Page Hearn surely sensed that his plot--two men are blinded to their love for each other by their foolish infatuation with the wrong guys--was familiar turf for any orientation. So he tricked it out with surreal elements: a TV cartoon that gives the would-be lovers helpful hints, two Greek chorus boys who mime the lads' repressed feelings, psychosomatic ailments (one lover goes deaf, which enables him to speak the truth to the other), and a clumsy final metamorphosis into dragonflies complete with TV antennae.

Perhaps a play about two self-ignorant young men would be insufficiently interesting, especially when the obstacles to their happiness are so weakly limned. Still, it would have been wiser to make the characters and their situation matter rather than distract us with dragonflies symbolizing indecision and mute cupids snapping their fingers to change the scenes. But there's promise in Hearn's dialogue, which rings the right changes on such inexhaustible issues as jealousy, territoriality, money crises, and psychic space.

Rob Chambers's stolidly realistic staging only undermines Hearn's supposed magic realism. Keith Eric Davis and Jon Frazier play the clueless love seekers with touching immediacy, David Blixt and John Francisco are recognizably wrong as the odd men out, and Trevor Luce and David Lawrence--the poorly employed chorus boys--work overtime as bashers, passersby, and silent sentinels.


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