Shakin' the Mess Outta Misery | Pegasus in Residence at Chicago Dramatists | Theater & Performance | Chicago Reader
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click to enlarge Darian Tene, Felicia McNeal, Sandra Watson, Melanie Loren, Toni Lynice Fountain, Debrah Neal, and Takesha Meshé Kizart

Darian Tene, Felicia McNeal, Sandra Watson, Melanie Loren, Toni Lynice Fountain, Debrah Neal, and Takesha Meshé Kizart

Emily Schwartz

When: Thursdays-Sundays. Continues through Dec. 10 2017
Price: $30, $25 seniors, $18 students
pegasustheatrechicago.org
Dramatically, there’s not much to Shay Youngblood’s 1988 play. Twentysomething Daughter spends two hours remembering wise, loving, and harrowing stories told to her by the half-dozen black women who raised her in a small southern town in the 1960s, stories reenacted by those very women. But with such carefully observed, artfully orchestrated tales of survival in Jim Crow America, Youngblood needs no dramatics to make things compelling—just an ensemble of actors who can sing and speak the truth. Director Ilesa Duncan assembles exactly the right cast for this thrilling Pegasus Theatre production (a revival of her 1998 Chicago premiere) and steers them through sagas both horrifying and heartwarming without a false moment. If it weren’t for the slapdash set, it would be a masterpiece. —Justin Hayford

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