Late Company

Posted by: | Posted on: June 23, 2017

Is Right on Time for a Dose of Reality

One year after the suicide of their teen son Joel, Debora (Tosha Fowler, left) and her husband Michael (Paul Fagen, seated opposite Fowler) sit down to dinner with their son’s bully Curtis (Matthew Elam) and his parents Tamara and Bill (Asia Jackson and Tony Buzzoto) in Cor Theatre’s Midwest premiere of Late Company by Jordan Tannahill. Closure is on the menu, but accusations become the main course as layers of parental and political hypocrisy are uncovered. Performances are June 17-July 16, 2017 at The Buena (Pride Arts Center), 4147 N. Broadway St. in Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood. Tickets and info: cortheatre.org or (866) 811-4111. Photo credit: Matthew Gregory Hollis

It is always great when you receive a pleasant surprise. A surprise that will give you clarity and a better sense of identity in today’s world of diversity. There are times when everyone will be judged and misjudged by the color of their skin, their beliefs or by their sexuality. Now imagine going to a dinner party that provided you with a full course of emotions for the main meal and a dose of torture, torment, misery for dessert.

Late Company tackles a serious problem that is terrorizing our youth today, especially our LGBTQ youth, “Cyber Bullying” and the effects it has on them. Statistics have shown that 42% of LGBTQ’s are more likely to be bullied online than their non-LGBTQ peers because of their chosen lifestyle. This unfair treatment has often lead to bad grades, low self-esteem, and mental health issues. Those who have experienced cyberbullying, in-person and online are significantly more susceptible to considering or committing suicide.

This painful family drama takes place one year after a gay teen has committed suicide and the aftershock of how his parents Michael (Paul Fagen) and Debora (Tosha Fowler) are dealing with the loss of their son. The stage is set in Chicago’s North Shore neighborhood where they decide to sit down for dinner with the family of the boy that is accused of being influential in the suicide of their son. Hesitation about coming together with the family ensues and the frustration of them having the gall to come late is making Michael and Debora irate.

The dinner party is filled with a lot of awkward pleasantries, wine drinking and several uncomfortable pauses of silence that eventually boils over to them talking about the elephant in the room, the suicide of their teen son.

In this particular situation everyone was seeking to find peace within themselves, however; looking for closure comes

One year after the suicide of her teen son Joel, Debora (Tosha Fowler, right) sits down to dinner with her son’s bully Curtis (Matthew Elam, left) and mother (Asia Jackson, center) in Cor Theatre’s Midwest premiere of Late Company by Jordan Tannahill. Closure is on the menu, but accusations become the main course as layers of parental and political hypocrisy are uncovered. Performances are June 17-July 16, 2017 at The Buena (Pride Arts Center), 4147 N. Broadway St. in Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood. Tickets and info: cortheatre.org or (866) 811-4111. Photo credit: Matthew Gregory Hollis

with a cost. A cost of realizing the part you played in the tragedy and the challenge of seeing an individual without prejudice.

There’s a phrase that says“People who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones” it seems as though the beautiful glass dining room table and chairs they chose was a metaphor to that idiom.

The act of forgiveness is a hard pill to swallow no matter how many drinks you consume and there was enough blame going around the table as to why a young man decided to take his life; that the ability to move passed the pain only leads to more stone throwing of criticism and denial. With good intentions, these two families tried to do the unthinkable, break bread and come together to talk over their grievances. When their viewpoints become drastically diverse, the friendly conversation changes to an interrogation process and tempers flare. Painful comments are slung and no one seems safe from opinionated beliefs over what others should have done and known.

Yes…this dinner party revealed a lot of hypocrisy and finger pointing with no blameless person in the room, and even though Curtis (Matthew Elam) and son of Bill (Tony Bozzuto) and Tamar (Asia Jackson) seem to have known more about their son, the hopes of reaching any common ground seemly passed away even before the door to greet them was open. This kumbaya coming together decision brings about a powerful discussion about how we look differently at any situation when someone you love in involved.

Playwright Jordan Tannahill unmasked some much-needed light on this heartbreaking reality on misunderstandings and missed opportunities of seeking the truth about the LGBTQ youth, with much candor, passion and raw emotions.

Director Jessica Fisch pulled out every fiery emotion one can imagine and pull at the depths of your soul regarding our treatment of others. Her desire to bring a universal cast together to reflect Chicago was refreshing and spot on to understanding what we need in this world; understanding for others regardless of our views.

Late Company is a heartfelt drama and we had a delightful experience on how everything would unfold, especially when blame is shifted to remove accountability. The raw viewpoints and penetrating questioning regarding parental responsibilities and the inability of not knowing things about your child was masterfully woven together to perfection. The dramatic pauses and riveting confessions will keep you engaged throughout the play and the ending will make you wonder if the sincerity read from a letter was genuine.

We highly recommend this play for mature audiences because it offers a lot of hope and although this play had some notable funny moments, it was extremely powerful and equally disturbing in how the LGBTQ community is often taunted.

The cast includes:

Tony Bozzuto (Bill)

Matthew Elam (Curtis)

Paul Fagen (Michael)

Tosha Fowler (Debora)

Asia Jackson (Tamara)

COR Theater Presents

LGBTQ DRAMA

LATE COMPANY

Playwright: Jordan Tannahill

Director: Jessica Fisch

June 16, 2017 – July 16, 2017

 





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