Marriage and Children: Part II, Our Children | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

Marriage and Children: Part II, Our Children 

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MARRIAGE AND CHILDREN: PART II, OUR CHILDREN, Circle Theatre. The second installment in a projected cycle of plays dealing with the aftermath of the allegedly idealistic 60s, this is a textbook example of play writing. But if future installments are going to have any merit, playwright Evan Blake better throw out that textbook and write something honestly instead of just assembling an assortment of politically correct issues and hackneyed dramatic contrivances.

Marriage and Children explores the lives of those who marched for civil rights in the 60s but left the arduous life of political activism for the comforts of the burbs. When former hippies Elza and Derrell are stunned to learn that their teenage son Charles is gay and has AIDS, and when black-power activist Claire is horrified to find that her son Luther is dating Elza and Derrell's adopted Vietnamese daughter Joy, we see how conservative these 60s revolutionaries have become.

But Blake's plea for peace, love, and understanding is too obvious, heavy-handed, and cliche laden. We never see real people--only what Blake tries to say through the characters. They face the audience between scenes and tell us things we already know ad nauseam: "We were the generation that was going to change the world." "Everything's so different now." "Shit happens."

Yet given the emotionally charged issues and charismatic actors Circle Theatre has brought together for this production, you can't help feeling a little empathy for the characters in this made-for-TV weepfest. Still, if I see one more trite play conclude with a choral rendition of "We Shall Overcome" I just might lose it.

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