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A Red Orchid Theater’s “Solstice” Review – Dark Terrain

By Amy Munice

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“Solstice” draws you into a family in an unnamed city that is about to be demolished by the powers that be seeking the village’s land for mining profits. 

 

 

It’s a dark world where blood revenge is waxing and fundamentalist religious faith is under attack. 

 

Young men-- boys really--are drawn into feuding gangs. 

 

 

A feral orphan girl attempts to get the adults in the town to do something.  

 

 

The mother of the boy she loves appears to be dying of the same illness that had taken her mother. 

 

 

The mother is helpless. 

 

The girl is helpless. 

 

And, the religious father cannot stop the madness of violence from spreading. 

 

The lust for violence and retribution drives the story into the birth of terrorism and a place that seems eerily familiar to what we know of Guantanemo.

 

In the news release about the play Artistic Director and cast member Kirsten Fitzgerald shares that at first she wasn’t quite sure what to do with this script by Zinnie Harris.  It was only when the play was presented a second time around that a decision was made to take it on. 

 

It is no wonder why there would be an initial hesitation.  Dwell with A Red Orchid Theater in the dark world of this play and know right away why the content initially gave pause.

 

With perfect staging in their small space and fine acting all around, the company gives this play a good airing.  As violence begets violence we are surprised but not shocked.   It’s as if the short time of the play is enough to inure us to savagery, much like the characters in the tale.

 

The dark heart of this play may make it out of reach for many who have not known the call of blood vendettas or anything remotely close.  We are not necessarily better for having seen it, but we are changed.

 

 Now through February 24, 2014

 

A Red Orchid Theater

1531 North Wells

Chicago

 

For tickets call 312 943 8722 or visit A Red Orchid Theater’s website.

 

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Photos: Michael Brosilow

 

 

Published on Jan 14, 2014

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