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  A Soldier's Play at Raven Theatre

A Soldier's Play

Raven Theatre
6157 N. Clark St Chicago

Charles Fuller's forceful drama - which won the Pulitzer Prize in 1982 - tracks the investigation of the murder of a black sergeant in Louisiana near the end of World War II. More than a detective story, it is a tough, incisive exploration of racial tensions and ambiguities among blacks and between blacks and whites that gives no easy answers and assigns no simple blame.

Thru - Mar 30, 2013

Price: $22-$36

Show Type: Drama

Box Office: 773-338-2177

Nearby Restaurants

  A Soldier's Play Reviews
  • Highly Recommended
  • Recommended
  • Somewhat Recommended
  • Not Recommended

Chicago Tribune - Somewhat Recommended

"...Menendian has woven together an admirably strong ensemble of young actors for the enlisted black soldiers who are eager to prove their worth on a level battlefield with their white peers. A brief coda about what happened to them after the D-Day invasion adds mournful poignancy to Fuller's snapshot of a watershed moment in civil rights."
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Kerry Reid

Chicago Sun Times - Highly Recommended

"...Told in a series of revealing flashbacks, we meet all the men under Waters' command - guys who also happen to form a solid Negro baseball team. They include: Private James Wilkie (Bradford Stevens), the family man determined to get his rank back; Melvin Peterson (Eric Walker), who has the guts to talk back to Waters; C. J. Memphis (Brian Keys), the young country boy and blues guitarist who Waters both loves and despises; the quiet but questioning Private Tony Smalls (Kory Pullam); and the more laid-back guys played by Tamarus Harvell and Rashawn Thompson. Two white soldiers (played by Scott Allen Luke and Tim Walsh), add to the atmosphere of hate."
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Hedy Weiss

Centerstage - Somewhat Recommended

"...While Raven Theater's production doesn't do Fuller's script much justice, the complex relationships between characters and the unique storyline make the show a worthwhile watch."

Kristin Walters

Time Out Chicago - Recommended

"...Raven Theatre still pulls off a fine production. The staging and design work together beautifully to define the past and present worlds, keeping the transitions clear and maintaining the play's driving pace. The cast's strong performances and consistent attention to military ritual lend a notable degree of authenticity. The infantry is a joy to watch, while Whitfield's Sgt. Waters, oscillating between warmth and frightening intensity, captures the character's menace. Though Raven's production probably won't shake your conception of theater, it might spark some lively discussion."
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Aeneas Sagar Hemphill

ShowBizChicago - Highly Recommended

"...There is so much taken for granted when thinking of racial equality and acceptance, Even though, with some respect we still have a long way to go regarding racial and sexual orientation acceptance, we have matured with our views and have opened our minds to this equality. Thankfully, in 2013, we now have an African American president, diversity with all races and sexual orientation. Even though, we have come so far in 70 years, there is still is a lot to do. "A Soldier's Play" will show you just how far we have journeyed."
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Russell Goeltenbodt

Chicago On the Aisle - Recommended

"...In an obvious sense, Charles Fuller's 1982 drama "A Soldier's Play," recently opened in a sharply detailed production at Raven Theatre, is about the virulent ugliness of racism as it persisted in the mid-20th century deep South. But more than that, Fuller's story grapples with the despair and self-loathing that can infect the soul of an oppressed people."
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Lawrence B. Johnson

Stage and Cinema - Highly Recommended

"...As sturdily written and swiftly moving as it was in 1982, Charles Fuller’s A Soldier’s Play remains an enduring testament to the homefront battles that African-American soldiers fought during World War II, within their ranks as well as with white comrades in arms. It’s the kind of upfront, downhome American classic that Raven Theatre can lift to relevance, even urgency. Happily, that happens here."
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Lawrence Bommer

ChicagoCritic - Not Recommended

"...Without Davenport serving as a much-needed emotional anchor, there is little to bring us into the story’s unfolding details. Even tensions between Davenport and the white Captain Charles Taylor (played by Tim Walsh with a Gomer Pyle-esque boobery) fail to elicit anything more than a few reactionary chuckles from the audience. Major plot points feel as though they’re mumbled through. And whole lines are dropped and/or flubbed—from nearly every member of the ensemble and on more than one occasion. Menendian’s blocking at times feels awkwardly perfunctory as characters attempt to maneuver through the set’s varying levels, and the scenic color palette—army regulation pea green, mud brown, and grays—all but blanch out beneath the amber lights into one big beige swath of dull."
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Anthony J. Mangini

Around The Town Chicago - Highly Recommended

"...Raven Theatre is in its 30th year and its objective has always been to bring new life into old classics and to explore works that illuminate the American experience. This production takes us into a world that is unknown to most of us and I for one want to learn more about this period in our history and why it was kept from us in the past. Perhaps Facing History and Ourselves can do more with this so that our teachers can be taught to teach this to our young students (of all races)."
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Alan Bresloff

Chicagoland Theater Reviews - Somewhat Recommended

"...The physical production is excellent, starting with Andrei Onegin's set, an arrangement of ramps and platforms that fluidly allows the action to shift among numerous locations in and around the army base. JoAnn Montemurro designed the period costumes, Diane Fairchild the lighting, and Marie C. Quinn the sound. Leif Olsen composed the original music. Michael Menendian directs."

Dan Zeff

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