Another American: Asking and Telling | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Another American: Asking and Telling 

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Another American: Asking and Telling, About Face Theatre. Not long ago the gay liberation movement, like most progressive social movements in America, resisted the military as an integral part of the establishment corrupting the nation. But thanks to neocon assimilationism and its wholesale neutering of once radical gay politics, the movement's leaders now seem to believe their work is done once queers can openly join Bush's imperialist crusade.

So it should come as no surprise that Marc Wolf in his docu-monologue--verbatim snippets of interviews with people who've encountered Clinton's "don't ask, don't tell" policy--has no greater gripe against the military than intolerance of its own personnel. Certainly this is no petty complaint; countless people have been humiliated, abused, stripped of employment, and even killed thanks to modern-day witch-hunts in the armed forces. In his most affecting work, Wolf gives voice to the victims of prejudice, chronicling the subtle and insidious ways gay service members have been dehumanized.

What is surprising is the enthusiastic reception Another American has received since its 1999 New York debut: Wolf is glaringly uneven as a performer. Of the 18 individuals he impersonates, half are carefully nuanced and half are overblown caricatures. And although a few interviewees argue for keeping gays out of the military, the overwhelming majority in this two-hour show rail against the military's gay ban, offering little to challenge the About Face audience.


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