Best Lost Soul | Best of Chicago 2013 | Arts & Culture | Chicago Reader

Best Lost Soul 

Alana Arenas in Head of Passes

Alana Arenas in Head of Passes

Michael Brosilow

Alana Arenas, Head of Passes

Tarell Alvin McCraney's Head of Passes was a majestic mess when it premiered at Steppenwolf Theatre in April. A gulf-coast update on the Book of Job, with an African-American widow named Shelah sitting in for the Old Testament schlimazel, the show fell in on itself just like Shelah's house does when a torrential rain knocks it off its foundation. Still, there were survivors—chief among them Alana Arenas, who played Shelah's profoundly troubled daughter, Cookie. Arenas has acted the part of a lost soul for McCraney before: as an ethereal young athlete run aground by ghetto values, she was astonishing in his In the Red and Brown Water. Arenas's Cookie was something else entirely. Carrying a secret trauma, the character is industriously irresponsible, compulsively self-destructive, as shattered as any veteran with PTSD. Arenas gave us every shard.

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Galleries & Museums
Tech Vanitas ARC Gallery
April 30
Galleries & Museums
Bisa Butler: Portraits Art Institute of Chicago
November 16

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