Kennedy’s Children

By Robert Patrickkennedy's children by robert patrick

Directed by Terry McCabe

Produced by Promethean Theatre Ensemble

At City Lit Theater, Chicago

Strong performances send us back to those day’s in the 60’s

Based on playwright Robert Patrick’s visit in 1974 to a old bar hangout, he penned his glimpse into Kennedy’s children more than ten years after the gunshot in Dallas. It asks the question: “Where were you on November 22, 1963?” I was on the Diversey CTA bus coming home from midterms at Loyola University Chicago when a passenger with a portable radio blasted the news that Kennedy had been shot! I’ll NEVER forget that day! We all were changed by that event. Robert Patrick’s powerful play aptly give s a glimpse into the carnage left ten years after.

kennedy's children by robert patrick

Set in a Greenwich Village bar on Valentine’s  Day, 1974, we meet five somber souls lost in their thoughts while imbibing. They seem paralyzed and isolated as they are drawn into an urban bar while reminiscing on their personal histories shaped by the events of the 1960’s.

kennedy's children by robert patrick

This nostalgic work surely plays to those in their late 50’s and 60’s whose lives were affected by the Kennedy assassination. Told in a series of monologues, we meet several New Yorkers lamenting those days.

kennedy's children by robert patrick

Wanda (Shawna Tucker) is a JFK-obsessed schoolteacher who looked up to Kennedy’s message as personal motivation to do something to make a difference.  Sparger (Tom Weber) is the disillusioned gay off-Broadway actor determined to be in every weird play. Mark (Nick Lake) is the paranoid Vietnam vet seeking solace in his beer.  Carla (Devon Candura) is the would-be sex goddess who laments the death of Marilyn Monroe.  Rona (Anne Korajczyk) is the life-long radical activist still searching for another cause to march for.  The silent bartender speaks only with his eyes as he keeps fueling the estranged group’s need for drink.

kennedy's children by robert patrick

Robert Patrick’s sharp barbs, witty, almost funny bits (especially for Sparger) and his philosophical isolation and demented view of war and killing gave the speeches focus and strength. Each lost soul gets ample room to explain their how they were changed by the tumultuous ’60s. They all seem to hate the bland empty decade of the 1970’s. They have little hope for a better future.

You’d be hard pressed to see finer performances than this cast mounted as they almost mesmerized the audience with Patrick’s cynically biting dialogue. Landing long monologues in character is difficult but these players succeeded as each understood and internalized their characters deeply. Tom Weber and Devon Candura were particularly effective.

Kennedy’s Children  is a worthy glimpse into the disillusionment of the American spirit that still lingers today. To my generation, Kennedy’s Children is a nostalgic trip back into a world of turmoil. It is an important that each generation needs to experience. It is a work expertly mounted and well performed.

Recommended

Tom Williams

At City Lit Theater, 1020 W. Bryn Mawr Ave., Chicago, IL, www.prometheantheatre.org, tickets $20, Thursdays thru Saturdays at 8 pm, Sundays at 3 pm, running time is 2 hours, 10 minutes with intermission.