Theater Review: How Long Will I Cry?: Voices of Youth Violence (Steppenwolf)

Theater Review: How Long Will I Cry?: Voices of Youth Violence (Steppenwolf)
Cast of HOW LONG WILL I CRY? (photo by Michael Brosilow of Steppenwolf Theatre Company)

Last week on Monday, March 4, Count and I attended a showing of the latest offering from the Steppenwolf for Young Adults (SYA) season, How Long Will I Cry: Voices of Youth Violence, directed by Edward Torres. Unlike most theater performances we have attended in the past, this play was not a work of fiction, but sadly based on reality.

With the rash of youth violence taking place in Chicago, especially recently, this play is an eerie reminder about the dangers in our urban neighborhoods. Journalist, playwright and DePaul University professor Miles Harvey and his students assembled the script by interviewing dozens of Chicago residents from teenagers to caregivers and  Pastor Corey Brooks from the New Beginnings Church in Chicago.  The main story is based on the life and 2009 shooting death of DePaul student Frankie Valencia, a young man with his whole life ahead of him.  Told through vignettes, we meet various people from different walks of life from gang kids, a former gang member whose time in jail inspired him to help others to Frankie's own mother, we see how this unnecessary tragedy unfolded.

The performances were heart-wrenching, the scenery was sparse but touches like actual Sun-Times and Red Eye newspaper boxes and a streetlamp post with a Chicago Police camera really set the atmosphere for the show.  Tall narrow video screens at each end of the theater enhanced the play by showing a history of Chicago's violence from old clippings from the Chicago Defender to a cell phone video of victim Derrion Albert being beaten to death.

The play was interesting and we defintely recommend everyone to see it, especially Chicago's young people.  **TWO FANGS UP**

Steppenwolf Theater is located at 1650 N. Halsted St., Chicago, IL

Final performances will be on March 18 at 7:30 PM and 23 at 11:00 AM in the Upstairs Theatre.

For tickets and more info, visit http://www.steppenwolf.org/Plays-Events/productions/index.aspx?id=572 or call the box office at 312-335-1650

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