I was invited to bring a friend to see Southbridge at Chicago Dramatists on opening weekend, February 2, 2013.
Chicago Dramatists is a cozy theater in River West that prides itself on putting on productions by local playwrights. In addition, there are weekly readings and playwriting classes.
Through a series of flashbacks Southbridge tells the story of a poor young black man accused of murdering an older wealthy white woman in late 19th century Ohio Valley. We don’t know if he did it, but we do know that there’s a growing mob eager to lynch the man for his transgressions.
The acting is great. The action – no explosions, but there are fights – exciting. The story is as compelling as any whodunit. But what stands out by far is the clever stage direction that easily and accurately conveys flashbacks, several different locations, memories, and inner dialogue, all with a single set.
The play, written by Reginald Edmund, a young Chicago Dramatist Resident Playwright, is based on a true story. Director Russ Tutterow has directed numerous productions at Chicago Dramatists, including several Jeff Award nominees and winners.
While dealing with a serious subject, there are some laughs, as well as some saucy double entendres, to provide some levity.
Both my friend and I enjoyed the play very much and would recommend it for anyone wanting to see an engaging stage production.
Southbrige runs Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays at 8pm, and Sundays at 3pm through March 3, 2013.