Best of Enemies | Provision Theater Company | Theater & Performance | Chicago Reader
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click to enlarge Rod Armentrout and Felicia Fields

Rod Armentrout and Felicia Fields

Simon Sorin

When: Fridays-Sundays. Continues through June 5 2016
Price: $10-$30
Based on Osha Gray Davidson’s 1996 book, Mark St. Germain’s play brings to life the improbable real-life relationship between C.P. Ellis, a Grand Cyclops of the KKK, and Ann Atwater, an African-American civil rights activist. The setting, Durham, North Carolina, in 1971, is fraught with tension around school desegregation. As Ellis, Rod Armentrout exudes a frightening and radical racism that’s met its match in Atwater, played take-no-prisoners style by Felicia Fields, a Tony nominee for her performance in the Broadway musical The Color Purple. While chairing a desegregation-focused charrette and trading nasty barbs rooted in baseless stereotypes, the oil-and-vinegar pair develop an empathetic, then friendly understanding that defies societal norms and quickly warms hearts. While the humor is spot-on throughout thanks to Fields’s well-timed quips and eye rolls, some scenes feel a bit too short for the drama and characters to develop. —Marissa Oberlander
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