As of January 1, 2016, Gapers Block has ceased publication. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
 Thank you for your readership and contributions over the past 12-plus years. 

TODAY

Sunday, December 17

Gapers Block
Search

Gapers Block on Facebook Gapers Block on Flickr Gapers Block on Twitter The Gapers Block Tumblr


A/C
« Russell Brand: TBS Just for Laughs Festival TBS Just for Laughs Festival: Seth Meyers & Special Guests »

Theater Sun Jun 16 2013

Homecoming 1972: Chicago Dramatists' Play Scripts Springsteen Song

Chicago Dramatists' world premiere production of Homecoming 1972 by resident dramatist Robert Koon puts us back in the Vietnam era. It reminds us of the dissent and confrontations of that time and how much that mood differs from today's high-tech multiwar era.

Kimberly Senior skillfully directs this play and helps us see each of the characters' qualities. But the overtones are loneliness and sadness. The double-edged homecoming is that of Frank (played by Matt Holzfeind), a Vietnam veteran who returns home with physical and psychic wounds and is unable to deal with daily life. It's also the high school homecoming in the small Minnesota town. The 90-minute play is performed in a series of two-person scenes, fluidly moving from one to the next on the efficiently designed set.

Homecoming1972-DarlaFrank.jpg

Frank's brother Joe is a highway patrolman who got a farm deferment; he stayed home and married Maria, the young women who both men loved in high school. At this point, a Bruce Springsteen fan would start to think, "Wait a minute--this sounds very familiar." And in fact, the play is a scripted retelling of Springsteen's song "Highway Patrolman" from his haunting, acoustic 1982 Nebraska album. Whether or not you've seen the play, the lyrics tell the story.

Frank is a jittery, agitated veteran in constant pain, living on prescription painkillers, coffee and a monthly disability check. Holzfeind plays the part in a nuanced way; we are really uncomfortable with his pain and discomfort.

At times, it seems that not much is happening in Homecoming 1972; however, the action comes in tense, emotional scenes between Joe (Brett Schneider) and Maria (Greta Honold), between Maria and Frank, and Frank with Darla (Megan Kohl now/Molly Glynn through June 9), a diner waitress with her own set of pain. Frank, who has trouble connecting with anyone, communicates with his brother through Maria.

Maria and Joe have problems, too. She works as a substitute teacher and yearns to leave the small town and go somewhere else. He is committed to staying in his highway patrol job, living in the old family house with all its memories.

The fifth character in the play is The Kid, a restless, horny 22-year-old who comes from money. He has a new college degree, a girlfriend and a hot new red car. Julian Hester gives this character a believable edge. The Kid tries to pick up Maria when they meet on a park bench and later drinks beer and has a drug transaction with Frank, which ends badly. But The Kid is really a plot device. As Joe says in the Springsteen song:

"Well the night was like any other, I got a call `bout quarter to nine.
There was trouble in a roadhouse out on the Michigan line.
There was a kid lyin' on the floor lookin' bad bleedin' hard from his head there was a girl cryin' at a table and it was Frank, they said."

That roadhouse scene (played offstage) leads to the play's ending, as Joe tries to bring his brother to justice. If the play has an ambiguous ending, well, so does the song.

As the play ended, "Thunder Road," from the iconic 1975 Springsteen album Born to Run , came roaring out of the speakers. It was a fitting ending for a gripping and thought-provoking play.

~*~

Homecoming 1972 runs through June 23 at Chicago Dramatists, 1105 W. Chicago Ave. Tickets are $32 and can be purchased online. For more information, call 312-633-0630.

Matt Holzfeind and Molly Glynn photo by Jeff Hines.

 
GB store
GB store

Architecture Tue Nov 03 2015

Paul Goldberger Describes the "Pragmatism and Poetry" of Frank Gehry's Architecture in His New Book

By Nancy Bishop

Architecture critic Paul Goldberger talks about Frank Gehry's life and work in a new book.
Read this feature »

Steve at the Movies Fri Jan 01 2016

Best Feature Films & Documentaries of 2015

By Steve Prokopy

Read this column »

Blogroll

ACRE
An Angry White Guy
Antena
AREA Chicago
ArchitectureChicago Plus
Arts Engagement Exchange
The Art Letter
Art or Idiocy?
Art Slant Chicago
Art Talk Chicago
Bad at Sports
Bite and Smile
Brian Dickie of COT
Bridgeport International
Carrie Secrist Gallery
Chainsaw Calligraphy
Chicago Art Blog
Chicago Art Department
Chicago Art Examiner
Chicago Art Journal
Chicago Artists Resource
Chicago Art Map
Chicago Art Review
Chicago Classical Music
Chicago Comedy Examiner
Chicago Cultural Center
Chicago Daily Views
Chicago Film Examiner
Chicago Film Archives
Chicago Gallery News
Chicago Uncommon
Collaboraction
Contemporary Art Space
Co-op Image Group
Co-Prosperity Sphere
Chicago Urban Art Society
Creative Control
Defibrillator
Devening Projects
Digressions
DIY Film
ebersmoore
The Exhibition Agency
The Flatiron Project
F newsmagazine
The Gallery Crawl...
Galerie F
The Gaudy God
Happy Dog Gallery
HollywoodChicago
Homeroom Chicago
I, Homunculus
Hyde Park Artcenter Blog
InCUBATE
Joyce Owens: Artist on Art
J-Pointe
Julius Caesar
Kasia Kay Gallery
Kavi Gupta Gallery
Rob Kozlowski
Lookingglass Theatre Blog
Lumpen Blog
Marquee
Mess Hall
N'DIGO
Neoteric Art
NewcityArt
NewcityFilm
NewcityStage
Not If But When
Noun and Verb
On Film
On the Make
Onstage
Peanut Gallery
Peregrine Program
Performink
The Poor Choices Show
Pop Up Art Loop
The Post Family
The Recycled Film
Reversible Eye
Rhona Hoffman Gallery
Roots & Culture Gallery
SAIC Blog
The Seen
Sharkforum
Sisterman Vintage
Site of Big Shoulders
Sixty Inches From Center
Soleil's To-Do's
Sometimes Store
Steppenwolf.blog
Stop Go Stop
Storefront Rebellion
TOC Blog
Theater for the Future
Theatre in Chicago
The Franklin
The Mission
The Theater Loop
Thomas Robertello Gallery
threewalls
Time Tells Tony Wight Gallery
Uncommon Photographers
The Unscene Chicago
The Visualist
Vocalo
Western Exhibitions
What's Going On?
What to Wear During an Orange Alert?
You, Me, Them, Everybody
Zg Gallery

GB store

 

Events


A/C on Flickr

Join the A/C Flickr Pool.



About A/C

A/C is the arts and culture section of Gapers Block, covering the many forms of expression on display in Chicago. More...
Please see our submission guidelines.

Editor: Nancy Bishop, nancy@gapersblock.com
A/C staff inbox: ac@gapersblock.com

Archives

 

A/C Flickr Pool
 Subscribe in a reader.

GB store

GB Store

GB Buttons $1.50

GB T-Shirt $12

I ✶ Chi T-Shirts $15