Chicago Theatre Review
‘Motherstruck!’ an Awe-Inspiring Evening of Theater
Motherstruck – Greenhouse Theatre
Every so often, I experience a play that rises above the void – a work of such energy, originality, and passion that I leave the theater not only excited, but inspired to pursue my own artistic endeavors.
“Motherstruck!”, the one-woman show from Staceyann Chin that is now receiving its Chicago premiere at the Greenhouse Theater Center, is one such production, and I could not possibly recommend it any more vigorously.
A tale of feminism, motherhood, the LGBT community, and the many wonderful nuances of pregnancy, “Motherstruck!” follows the full arc of Chin’s fascinating life: her troubled childhood in Jamaica, including the sexual assault that led to her immigration to New York; her early brushes with poetry and artistic achievement/fame; and especially her desire to be a mother, and her efforts to both become pregnant and raise her baby girl.
To call Chin’s acting “virtuosic” would be an understatement. Bounding across Kristen Robinson’s minimalist staging with the force of a hurricane, Chin all but dares the audience to keep up with her anecdotes – hilarious and moving in equal parts – of hospital visits, pregnancy tests, the ripe mangos that are only available in Jamaica, and the rapidly changing demographics of her Brooklyn neighborhood. With only subtle lighting from Jennifer Kules and the occasional (but appropriate) sound cue from Elisheba Ittoop, the production puts Chin front and center, and it is such a testament to her and director Ron Russell that the results are never short of riveting.
One-person plays are notoriously difficult (I’ve seen more than my fair share of college tries at the form), but it will never be more fully realized than what Chin has provided in “Motherstruck!”, and Chicagoans of all strifes – gay, straight, bisexual, transgender, fathers, mothers, activists – should do themselves the service of seeing it.
Reviewed by Peter Thomas Ricci
Presented through July 17 by by the Greenhouse Theater Center, 2257 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago.
Tickets are available by calling the box office at 773-404-7336 or by going to http://www.greenhousetheater.org/.
Additional information about this and other fine area productions can be found by visiting www.theatreinchicago.com