Highly Recommended**** The beauty of “live” theater is that at any given time anything can happen as a story is being told. On the stage now, at The Goodman Theatre, in the Owen, the smaller of the venues located at 170 N. Dearborn, is a work entitled, “God’s Work”, an all new production that was conceived, devised and performed by a young group of chicago artists known as APTP, which stands for Albany Park Theater Project. While they did this play back in 2006, this is the first time it has been performed in a venue such as The Goodman, a much larger performance place for these high school artists and they have accepted the challenge with reaching new heights. Bravo!
The entire project began when a member of the troupe ( a 14 year old) stated that they had learned to love at the age of ten. The company has built their story from this original statement the question is, How does a young person learn to grow up with reason and fear as well as love and honor? This particular 90 minutes of story-telling is one filled with hope and sensitivity as they create art out of ugly realities using an ethnic composition that contains: Mexicans, Puerto Ricans, Filipino, Assyrian and Samoans. A very diverse theatrical company, indeed!
Directed by David Feiner, Stephanie Paul, Maggie Popadiak and Rossana Rodriguez Sanchez on a set designed by Scott C. Neale and some marvelous original music ( Mikhail Fiksel), the cast of twenty-two teens take us on a road that deals with the birth of many babies and their lives in the lower level of their family home. Our heroine, Rachel ( a stunning performance by Maidenwena Alba) learns to love and trust and to open her eyes to a future that is far better than the life she has endured. Her family is one of deprivation and trauma, but when Rachel has an opportunity to see the light she seizes same and each of the others gain the same feeling from her new found energy.
This is a play that might be considered more ART than play, but the story is told so clearly and by a cast that truly feels the words they have put together through the interviews they did for the original version. These are new students to the project, but we get the sense that they fully understand what was devised from the onset and I applaud them for their energy and creativity. The movement direction (Stephanie Paul and Maggie Popadiak) the lighting ( Jeremy Getz), the puppetry (Brandon Campbell and Lacy Katherine Campbell) and the props/objects design (Angela Tillges) and costumes ( Izumi Inaba) are wonderful additions to the completeness of the entertainment,but it is the actors and their inner feelings as well as their talent that truly make this one to see.
In addition to ms Alba, a tip of the hat goes out to: Lizbeth Acevedo, Lesley Albarran, Gibran Carrisoza, Marilyn Carteno, Gustavo Duran, Liliana Duran,Ely Espino, Kito Espino, Kiara Lyn Manriquez, Justin Martinez, Vincent K. Meredith, Paloma Morales,Chelsee Nava, Alyanna Parajado, Paola A. Rico, Jalen D. Rios, Kyra Mae Robinson, Jessica Rolon, Christina Saliba, Jeremy Sebastian and Electra Tremulis. Keep your eyes and ears open. If you see a notice that there is something new coming from this company, get more info and follow them. They are strong story tellers and always worth the trip to see.
“God’s Work” will continue in the Owen Theatre at The Goodman through April 19th with performances as follows:
Saturdays at 2 and 8 p.m.
Sundays at 2 p.m.
Tickets are open seating and only $10-$25. They can be purchase at the box office, by phone at 312-443-3800 or online at www.GoodmanTheatre.org
To see what others are saying, visit www.theatreinchicago.com, go to Review Round-up and click at “Gods Work”