First I must say that seeing this play was not truly the adventure of my weekend. That includes walking 3+ miles through Lincoln Park, and transporting a bookshelf from Lakeview to Ravenswood on public transportation. But I don’t really know how to write about that experience yet, plus Justin and I are going to turn it into a play and I wouldn’t want to ruin that for all of you.
So instead, my Sunday afternoon slightly less eventful adventure, was heading to Victory Gardens to see About Face’s new production of The Pride with Julia. I’ve been dying to see this play since it was in New York with Ben Winshaw and Hugh Dancy, because apparently I get really enthusiastic about shows that I know will break my heart. Over and over again. Because that’s what this show does.
Set in London in both 1958 and 2008, the play follows two gay men (Patrick Andrews and John Francisco), and the woman in their life (Jessie Fisher), through the different struggles that face them in the different eras. Of course the obstacles in 1958 are more external: complete social isolation, medical interventions, wives stuck in the middle, but 2008 (or today essentially) isn’t just shown as a paradise of freedom. In fact the freedom Oliver (Andrews – who is amazing in this, as he is in everything I’ve seen him in) enjoys, lots of random anonymous sex, holds him back from a functional relationship with Philip (Francisco).
The play raises lots of interesting questions of sexuality and permissiveness, progress, and the idea of Pride itself. (“Is it a demonstration, a celebration, or a fashion show?”) And if you’re prepared for the darkness (and it’s a bit more intense than even I expected at times) it’s really a wonderful production of a powerful play.
The show runs through July 13th at Victory Gardens at 2433 N. Lincoln Ave