The award-winning play called Southern Gothic moved to the new Windy City Playhouse location in South Loop. I’ve heard a lot of amazing reviews about this play, so what better way to check out the new space by seeing Southern Gothic, too!
The Windy City Playhouse South just like in their original Irving Park space built a 1960s house inside the building complete with an outdoor patio, and full-sized rooms like the living room with hardwood floor and fireplace, a working kitchen, and dining room. That in itself was so interesting!
Only 30 guests are allowed in to watch the play, and spacious enough for all to venture around. The actions were happening in every room, and while you will most likely miss a lot of the conversation, you get the gist of what’s happening. I love that you can choose to concentrate on a character and jump into another room to see what’s happening there. Before it all started, rules were laid out for the “fly-on-the-wall” audience referred to as the “invisible guests.” Stay in the perimeter of the rooms, don’t block doorways, no talking between guests, and to help yourself to period snacks and alcoholic beverages laid out at the party.
So, here’s what you will experience. It was 1961 in the middle of the Summer heat of Ashford, Georgia. A group of friends gathered together at Ellie and Beau Courtier’s home to celebrate Suzanne Wellington’s 40th Birthday Party. The Courtiers were the host, the Wellington’s as the guest of honors, the Lyons were the snotty wealthy couple, and then there’s Tucker who brought a glamorous and highly-educated African American woman as his date. You can imagine the tension that this brought on as soon as they arrived. It just so happen that I was also the only woman of color attending as an invisible guest, so I couldn’t help but feel the awkwardness. Talk about real immersion! The actors were so believable that I almost forgot what century I was living in! I especially enjoyed the Harry Belafonte “Banana Boat” song that brought the dancing and singing. And like a lot of parties, alcohol was in the mix, and as expected, the relationship and money issues started dropping like bombs among the characters.
The intriguing and juicy drama of love, alcoholism, racism, pregnancy, wealth-privilege, and adultery left me wanting to know what happened to all the characters in a decade or two after that. I also wouldn’t mind seeing it over again so I can focus on other individuals. I couldn’t believe how fast 90 minutes went by!
The show is a great place to bring your friends. I would recommend watching the show before you head to dinner. It’ll be a late dinner, but I can imagine that you’ll sit down for hours on end just talking about Southern Gothic.
Southern Gothic is by Leslie Liautaud, directed by David H. Bell, and co-created by Carl Menninger and Amy Rubenstein.
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Last night I went back in time to 1961 to an immersive play called ”Southern Gothic.” The story took place in Georgia, and I was a ”fly on the wall” witnessing southern American lives. You get to walk inside the house and observe the drama right in front of you. Room per room. At that time and age in the South in Georgia, and since I’m an Asian woman, an invite to a gathering like this would never happen, It’s exciting to see what it would be like! Surprisingly, I was also the ONLY non-white in the group of guests. The experience became even more interesting! For me, anyway. Check out my full review at Chicagonista.com #Chicago #Chicagonista @windycityplay