LOTTERY DAY at Goodman Theatre hits home for me regarding gentrification

LOTTERY DAY at Goodman Theatre hits home for me regarding gentrification

While everyone was enjoying their Easter Sunday meal, my son and I went to see Ike Holter's LOTTERY DAY at Goodman Theatre. I was surprised to see a predominately white elderly crowd and I could literally count the number of blacks I saw on one hand. I find it necessary to mention this because of its gentrification theme and gentrification affected many blacks and other people of color.

In 2010, I wrote my first article in the Chicago Red Eye Newspaper titled "Eyesore yes, but public housing was our home." I lived in the Cabrini-Green Housing Projects located on the Near North side of Chicago for over 20 years. The last building standing was the building I lived in (1230 N. Burling to be exact, on the corner of Halsted and Division). It wasn't standing tall but a wrecking ball put it at half-mast and was left that way for months until a bulldozer finished it off.

I thought about this when I saw the LOTTERY DAY performance. Gentrification has totally taken over land that was either known as the "hood" or the "projects". That broken-in-half building I once lived in was likened to character Mallory's house, who lived there as long as the neighbors or the people who were trying to gentrify her neighborhood.

Mallory, a black woman with a ferocious and strong will, refused to budge no matter how much coercing from others. She was already annoyed by the new development across the street from her, as well as the white tenant who lived there. Like many people from the "hood" or from the "projects", Mallory also felt that once you see one new development take place, the domino effect begins the demise of the remaining properties.

LOTTERY DAY is in fact very amusing because Mallory gathers the neighbors for a barbecue at her home. These people are of different races--black, white, Hispanic and one white gay neighbor who is quite the chatter box. Mallory's intention on bringing the neighbors together were not altruistic and the play ends revealing secrets and other things no one knew about each other. That is what happens when the use of marijuana and liquor is shared among them.

Here is an audience clip of what they thought about LOTTERY DAY and my sentiments are the same. The play ends April 28 and there is still time to get main floor tickets for $20 when using promo code AMBASSADOR15. One caveat: there is a lot of profanity but that's no surprise at a barbecue.

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