The Amen Corner | ETA Creative Arts Foundation | Theater & Performance | Chicago Reader
This is a past event.
When: Sept. 20-Oct. 21 2012
Price: $15-$30
James Baldwin nailed the ambiguities of piety with this 1954 play, in which despotic storefront preacher Sister Margaret is forced to confront her past. Although Margaret is a steamroller—self-righteous yet sympathetic—the real heart of this semi-autobiographical work is Baldwin's richly detailed, often affectionate, ultimately scathing portrait of her Harlem congregants. Played at first for laughs (most effectively by Jeannette Blackwell as bespectacled, bantam Sister Moore), their combination of hypocrisy, competition, and backbiting eventually damns both the faith and the faithful. Runako Jahi's three-hour, gospel-studded production engages in the first act but fizzles in the second, when Margaret (seriously underplayed and underemoted by Deborah Ross) and her family implode. —Laura Molzahn


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