Reviewed By Sara Eisenbaum
“What’s the T” begs the question What’s the Problem? Classism, racism, ageism, and homophobia/transphobia are still running rampant although people, especially in the seemingly gay city of Chicago, try to pat themselves on the back for the pseudo progress that has been made. How refreshing to see a youth theater production as an in your face style statement about how amazing kids are in all shapes, sizes, orientations and every other generic label under the sun.
About Face Theatre revisited this program when they realized there was still a need in the LGBT community for a show that brings about conversation. The co-author of the play and the director of the youth program Sara Kerastas explained at the introduction of the show that bringing back this youth ensemble was in part because of a discriminatory, and in some ways abusive, incident that happened in “Boystown.” The portrayal of this incident or possibly it was the portrayal of similar incidents was truly raw and real. The cast brought to life issues that showcased how Chicagoans still have quite a ways to go before the ignorance seeps elsewhere. One scene in particular portrays Cubs fans and the CTA. Need I say more? The audience gave the hoped for response at this particular portrait of individuals who still believe that their lack of knowledge is someone else’s problem.
Some of the most impressive scenes in the play involved montages of faux video exchanges, musical/dance numbers, and adolescent banter that gave mostly accurate insight into the mind of young people and what they experience when their voices aren’t heard by adults and also by other youth. The play gives a strong sense of empowerment to individuals who are confidently striding forth in a community that puts a happy face forward when often what’s behind the mask is insecurity and a desire for acceptance. “What’s the T” isn’t daring, but it is a harsh reality that needs to be faced which makes this play truly pressing.
At Prince Charitable Trusts Rehearsal Room @ Victory Gardens Theatre, 2433 N. Lincoln Ave, Chicago
Written by Sara Kerastas and The About Face Youth Theatre Ensemble
Directed by Eric Hoff
Fridays and Saturdays at 7pm
Sundays and Saturdays at 3pm
Thru June 2nd
For more information, visit http://www.aboutfacetheatre.com