Dustbowl Gothic | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

Dustbowl Gothic 

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The unprecedented 1930s drought turned rich midwestern farmland into barren desert. Think of American Gothic as the "before" picture. First exhibited in 1930, Grant Wood's iconic painting of a lean farmer--posed with his pitchfork and sturdy wife--depicts the hard, fruitful way of life that would be wiped out over the next decade. Dustbowl Gothic takes Wood's painting out of its frame and sets it in sweet, sad, exceedingly beautiful motion. The farmer's now a bachelor, the wife a mail-order bride. By awkward steps, they learn each other, fall in love. By inexorable steps, they're broken. Blake Montgomery's Building Stage Company production is at once plainspoken and poetic, using everyday movement, economical metaphors, and simple music to create something delicate, funny, unexpected, true. Through 5/20: Fri-Sat 8 PM. Building Stage, 1044 W. Kinzie (enter at 412 N. Carpenter), 312-491-1369. Free.

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