Cut Flowers | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Cut Flowers 

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Chicago Theatre Company's staging of Gavin Lawrence's workplace ensemble piece has been transplanted from its south-side home to the main stage of the Noble Fool Theater downtown--and under Douglas Alan-Mann's direction, the production has lost nothing in the move. The action takes place over a single day in the back room of a flower shop in Washington, D.C., where six African-American men prepare flowers for display. With one exception, they're young. They're cruel, and they're funny. Kyle is the middle-aged assistant manager; Brian the hardest working and most troubled soul; Kevin a black militant; Mark the responsible one, whose sense of duty prevents him from leaving an abusive household; Paul a stuttering alcoholic; and Ronnie a puckish, exuberant lover of life, kids, and a good joke. Cut Flowers is funnier than it is deep, yet it offers moments of real power and is authentic in its details of humor and gesture. In a manner reminiscent of August Wilson's Jitney, it speaks affectingly of the human condition--the prickly uncommunicativeness of men and the rage that can lie below the surface of a jest. Here nothing is private. There are no secrets. We are eavesdroppers on voices rarely heard onstage. Noble Fool Theater Company, 16 W. Randolph, 312-726-1156. Through May 11: Wednesdays-Fridays, 8 PM; Saturdays, 4:30 and 8:30 PM; Sundays, 3 PM. $32-$36.


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