BlackTop Sky at Theatre Seven of Chicago | Theater review

Christina Anderson's quick-cut style undercuts her characters' arcs.

 (Photograph: Michael Brosilow)
1/5
Photograph: Michael BrosilowBlackTop Sky at Theatre Seven of Chicago
 (Photograph: Michael Brosilow)
2/5
Photograph: Michael BrosilowBlackTop Sky at Theatre Seven of Chicago
 (Photograph: Michael Brosilow)
3/5
Photograph: Michael BrosilowTheatre Seven of Chicago's BlackTop Sky
 (Photograph: Michael Brosilow)
4/5
Photograph: Michael BrosilowBlackTop Sky at Theatre Seven of Chicago
 (Photograph: Michael Brosilow)
5/5
Photograph: Michael BrosilowBlackTop Sky at Theatre Seven of Chicago

In the courtyard of a Chicago housing project, 18-year-old Ida (Kristin E. Ellis) is on the verge of something. She’s graduated from high school, chafing at living with her verbally abusive mother and dating a man (Eric Lynch) who promises to give her a better life. Over the course of a summer, she’s also intrigued by a handsome young homeless man (Julian Parker) who’s set up camp on one of the courtyard benches.

Despite an appealing cast (Parker is particularly compelling as the troubled Klass), Christina Anderson’s quick-cut style proves frustrating in Cassy Sanders’s staging. Lights go up and down on often wordless scenes that cut off character beats before they can sink in, and Anderson’s characters don’t seem to have a lasting effect on one another. This Sky is hard to read.

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