Kelsey is a Chicago based producer, actor, writer, critic, and mixologist. An alum of Black Box Acting’s ACADEMY Program, Kelsey curates “The Newness,” a monthly salon of new work. They also work closely with Trans Voices Cabaret Chicago as well as Chicago Theatre Access Auditions. Follow them on Insta! @playsandpours, @kelseylooks
Pictured (front, l to r): Adam Soule, Stephanie Shum and Elise Marie Davis with (back) Alejandro Tey. Photo by Austin D. Oie.
By Kelsey McGrath
A new work penned by Spenser Davis, this sharp and heartbreakingly honest text gives voice to a working-class world we’ve never seen before. Taking place in “Brady’s,” a downtown Chicago shopping mall, our characters reside within the unlikely community of undercover security guards. Their relationships ebb and flow, and are strained as quota demands from the higher ups roll in for the holidays. This thesis unlocks an excellent opportunity to discuss many timely ideas of race, gender, class, and agency within a capitalistic system, all authentically grounded in the characters and their circumstances. Each character is real and offers an unapologetic sense of self. The stakes are ones of accountability, asking of the audience and of the players how our moral compasses shift when the answer is complex.
Davis’s smart dialogue is what did it for me. Off the bat, we’re met with players that are messy, mistaken, engaged, whole-hearted, and figuring it out, just like we all are. Having an amazing cast also helps — to point out any individual would be a disservice to the ensemble. The specific personalization of each is finessed by co-directors Kanomé Jones and Davis in a way that brings an organic intensity and energetic choreography to the group scenes; these are meticulously curated and it worked.
Go. Go. Go see this show. Another incredible production by the brilliant, mindful artists of Broken Nose Theatre.
PLAINCLOTHES runs through December 15th. For more information visit brokennosetheatre.com.