Review: By the Way, Meet Vera Stark (Goodman Theatre) : Chicago Theater Beat
Hilarious and poignant, By the Way, Meet Vera Stark paints a vivid picture of the cultural climate that shaped this mysterious screen queen—and wonders who. By The Way, Meet Vera Stark at the Albert Goodman Theater, Chicago, IL. Closed June 2, Buy tickets online now or find out more with. Reviews for By the Way, Meet Vera Stark in Chicago, IL at Goldstar. Read what members are saying about By the Way, Meet Vera Stark and find tickets to.
The film, The Belle of New Orleans, becomes a classic, while Stark ages somewhat less gracefully and then seals her legend by disappearing.
By act two, set inscholars at a colloquium are arguing about her semiotics. Nottage won a Pulitzer Prize four years ago for Ruinedher devastating play about guerrilla war and sexual atrocity in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
With Vera Stark she just as perceptively anatomizes African-American identity—its imposition, construction, and appropriation. The problem is that the script's structure ultimately fails to support its insights. The first act is a tour de force in this Goodman Theatre production directed by Chuck Smith, taking the traditional comedy of mistaken identity to odd and amusing new places. It'sand, under the social and economic circumstances, nobody can afford to be who they are.
Vera gets wind of The Belle of New Orleans through Gloria, who's in a tizzy over auditioning for the Camille-like lead.
By The Way, Meet Vera Stark
She shares the information with her roommate Lottie, a fellow black actress formerly known for her shimmying prowess but now eating her way into mammy roles. Meanwhile, another roommate named Anna Mae is busy parlaying her light skin into a new persona: Anna Marie Fernandez, Brazilian sexpot.
One way or another all three converge on Gloria's posh apartment, where they participate in a festival of personal and cultural disguise that also features a faux-aristocratic film director a la Erich von Stroheim and Vera's love interest, Leroy—a musician with his own masks and his own hopes of breaking through.
Interestingly, the only character who doesn't have to pretend to anything is the studio head—i.
"By the Way, Meet Vera Stark" at the Goodman Theatre - Chicago Tribune
Together with its richly ironic allusions to movie history, the frenzied role-playing Nottage's script sets in motion is hilarious. The second-act colloquium looks just as good, initially. The first, modeled after a 30s screwball comedy, shows various characters donning their masks for the sake at a shot at the movies—even Vera, who once swore she'd never put on a head rag to play a slave, even a slave with lines.
Tonight I crossed a bridge, and I'm telling you, I ain't going back! It's a burden to a Negro woman in this town. What has all my enviable talent given me?
Mammy Jane, Josie, Bitsy, Petunia, and Addie, 40 years of characters who they didn't even bother to give last names. That's something to celebrate, honey! She read for Crystal Allen, the lead role famously played in the movie by Joan Crawford. The director couldn't see her in the part. She was cast as the maid instead. They're a wider range than what would have been offered to Vera Stark. But every character description she sees for a black female character says exactly the same thing: It's this idea that that's what black women do, and what black women do best.
Someone will always want a Hispanic with a strong accent, or any other ethnic group stereotype.
"By the Way, Meet Vera Stark" at the Goodman Theatre ★★
Movies are a commercial venture, not a social venture. They're out there to make money. The more people who watch, the more money they make. If all of a sudden there was a miracle and black movies started making money, everyone would want to watch African-Americans.
In order to showcase the work of black women filmmakers, Taylor has cocurated " Dark Eyes: Visions of Black Women ," a series of four films made by contemporary female African-American directors, running on Thursday evenings this month. Three are family dramas, and the fourth is the story of a s movie actress much like Vera. There are more standards of beauty.