The Colored Museum | ETA Creative Arts Foundation | Theater & Performance | Chicago Reader
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Aaron Mitchell Reese

When: Fridays-Sundays. Continues through Oct. 23 2016
Price: $35, seniors $25, students $15
George C. Wolfe’s 1986 send-up of black theater, structured as a series of satirical sketches, was revolutionary for its time, the late Reagan era, and on occasion this seminal show still thrills—“Git on Board,” the opening piece about the continuing legacy of slavery, took my breath away. Nonetheless, the most daring thing about the play, Wolfe’s refusal to write either a serious deconstruction or a flat-out comedy revue, is also one of its flaws. Parts, such as the send-up of Raisin in the Sun, “The Last Mama on the Couch Play,” are laugh-out-loud funny, but other pieces such as “Lala’s Opening,” about an overblown diva, feel like rough drafts in need of more work. That inconsistency is mirrored in this Pulse Theatre production, directed by Aaron Mitchell Reese and Donterrio Johnson, which sometimes kills (Demetra Drayton and Ekia Thomas are particularly funny) but at other times seems at a loss as to how find either the humor or the message in Wolfe’s unfocused material. —Jack Helbig



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