Wheatley | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

Wheatley 

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Lonnie Carter's new choreopoem is a fantasia on the life and work of Phillis Wheatley, a colonial-era slave who became the first published African-American poet. Carter shrinks from dramatizing the most important aspect of Wheatley's life: her struggle to prove to Boston's skeptical white male leaders that she was, in fact, the author of her works. And instead of spending time on the development of her talent, he focuses on fanciful interludes with lovers both real and imagined. Director Sharon Scruggs encourages a broad style, and as a result the four performers flatten Wheatley's fascinating, difficult life into cartoons that neither honor her voice nor illuminate her history. Through 11/13: Thu-Fri 7:30 PM, Sat 4:30 and 8 PM, Sun 2:30 PM. Victory Gardens Theater, second-floor main stage, 2257 N. Lincoln, 773-871-3000. $25-$28.

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