Saturday February 24th 2018

“Boy”

What would you do if an accident took away a part of one of your children that could change their life? Anna Ziegler’s “Boy”, now onstage at Timeline Theatre is inspired by a story such as this. In the 1960’s, an accident during what appeared to be a routine medical procedure causes one of their children ( a twin boy) to lose his male organs. A well-known doctor, with a reputation on gender identity us asked for his expertise. His concept is that the “boy” be raised as a girl and over time with meds and future surgeries, all would work out. This is a moving story that may be hard to take for some people, but does take us into a modern-day situation as well. Gender Identity is something we hear about on a regular basis. Are we formed at birth? Can we alter who we are by meds? Is it possible that even with hormones and surgery, that the deeper, inner feelings and desires will still come out, no matter what?

I certainly do not want to divulge all of what takes place in this 90 minutes of wonderful storytelling, but will hit on a few of the highlights. The parents, who are very loving ( at least the mother is) and afraid of what the world will see and say, are played by Mechelle Moe and Stef Tovar. Tovar is the gruff father who has little time for the son/daughter relationship, but in one of the later scenes, has a heart-to-heart that will need at least one tissue. The doctor is played by David Parkes to perfection. While we first see this man as a caring, gentle person who wants nothing more than to help this distraught family through a hard time, as the story unfolds, we begin to doubt his motives. Even later when “Adam” ( the name that the “Boy” selects for himself when he starts to transition back to his male life) questions “his” very being, we see why this might be possible.

We come into the story as we meet “Adam” ( a powerful and dynamic performance by Theo Germaine, who uses the following pronouns: they, theirs and them to describe their very being). He is growing up and with a girl, Jenny ( charmingly played by Emily Marso). It seems that the doctors work has failed, but as we watch flashbacks, we see the power of the doctor and his patient building a relationship. Adam has discovered true love in Jenny and even though she has a child, who Adam adores, they have no physical relationship.

If one wants to do a study on the actual case, one can look up David Reimer and his Dr., Doctor John Money, who co-founded the first gender identity clinic over 50 years ago.  David would have identified himself as neither transgender nor intersex, back then. But his story is one that makes more sense in today’s light of confused  gender identity situations. The “Adam” character was raised in a gender that was not truly the correct one, despite hormones and wearing dresses and doing tea and more. In fact, director Damon Kiely handed the boy/girl transitions to perfection by having Germaine do it through their physical and vocal talents. The audience could tell who they were watching in any scene!

The set by Arnel Sancianco is amazing. The audience sits on two sides and with those walls there are shadow boxes filled with amazing games, toys, and other items. The lighting (Jared Gooding) sets the mood and the sound (Karli Blalock) sheer perfection as we heard every word. The costumes (Samantha Jones) are very much of the time and I adored the props assembled by Archer Curry. There is also, in this production, an intimacy designer ( not often seen in a program) and the name given is Charlie Baker, who like many of the other members of the production team are referred to as  He/him/they/them.

One of the beautiful parts of this play/story is that on the way home, you will have some strong discussion about what you witnessed. In fact, part of the Timeline mystique is that you never just walk out when a play is over. Yes, you always think about what you just saw, and very often, do discuss the ups and downs, the truths and lies. That is the brilliance of this company that has been thrilling Chicago audience since 1997.

“Boy” will continue at Timeline, located at 615 West Wellington in Chicago through March 18th.

The performance schedule is:

Wednesdays  7:30 p.m.

Thursdays  7:30 p.m.

Fridays  8 p.m.

Saturdays at 4 and 8 p.m

Sundays  2 p.m.

Special performances: Tuesday  3/13  7:30 p.m.

Wednesday 2/14  change to 8:30 p.m. Happy Valentine’s Day

NO PERFORMANCE 3/16

 

Tickets  range from $40- $54

students save 35%   $35 for military, veterans, first responders and their families

Visit http://www.timelinetheatre.comor call 773-281-8436 xt 6

The theater is located at 615 Wellington in the Wellington Avenue United Church of Christ Building.

Post-Show discussions will take place on 1/24, 1/28, 2/1, 2/15, 2/21 and 3/4

Pre-Show discussions (one hour prior to curtain) will take place on 2/7 and 2/18

These are no extra charge

2/10 will be open captioned performance

2/11 will feature a post-show discussion with the team

2/25 will be the Sunday Scholar Panel Discussion, one hour post-show with experts on the topic explored in the play.

Parking can be difficult in the area, but there are lots at Broadway Center 2846 N. Broadway, the Century Mall, 2836 N. Clark- bring the ticket for validation.

Have dinner at The Bagel on Broadway ( one block North of the theater) and tell them your plate and car, they will allow you to park in their lot. Well worth it! You will love the Matzah Ball Soup ( or the Mish-Mash)

To see what others are saying, visit www.theatreinchicago.com, go to Review Round-Up and click at “Boy”

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