‘How to Catch Creation’ is not a directional guide

 

Ayanna Bria Bakari (Natalie), Jasmine Bracey (G.K. Marche), Maya Vinice Prentiss (Riley) and Bernard Gilbert (Stokes) in the world premiere of How to Catch Creation. (Liz Lauren photos)
Ayanna Bria Bakari (Natalie), Jasmine Bracey (G.K. Marche), Maya Vinice Prentiss (Riley) and Bernard Gilbert (Stokes) in the world premiere of How to Catch Creation. (Liz Lauren photos)

3 ½ stars

“How to Catch Creation,” a world premiere at Goodman Theatre, may sound like a how-to guide. But Christina Anderson’s new play is nothing like a step-by-step process.

Six people making up three intellectual couples search for fulfillment. Two couples are presented in the present in 2014. The third couple’s actions begin back in the 1960’s. But their lives are all presented at the same time, almost as two syncopated poetry readings.

During their journey of personal exploration they encounter snags of same and opposite gender attractions, divergent artistic paths and stereotypical thinking.

And it’s all done on scenic designer Todd Rosenthal’s stunning set. It revolves as two halves – one for the two contemporary couples, the other for most of the 1960’s situation.

The location is a California town similar to San Francisco and its area.

Sorry we’ve been asked not to reveal the plot’s unusual twists. What you would realize early into the show, is that all the characters are black and that Anderson deliberately presents the actions and dialogue from a black perspective.

But important as that perspective is, fulfillment desires and gender issues transcend race. Thus the play is meaningful on many levels. And under the direction of Niegel Smith who did “Father Comes home from the Wars” the cast superbly interprets Anderson’s sharp and clever dialogue.

Keith Randolph Smith (Grifin) and Karen Aldridge (Tami) in the world premiere of How to Catch Creation at GoodmanTheatre.
Keith Randolph Smith (Grifin) and Karen Aldridge (Tami) in the world premiere of How to Catch Creation

Portraying the 1960’s couple are Chicago actress (Goodman, Steppenwolf, Chicago Shakespeare) Jasmine Bracey as author G.K. Marche and TV and Chicago actress (Victory Gardens, Raven, TimeLine) Ayanna Bria Bakari as her partner, Natalie, a talented seamstress who designs wearing apparel.

Regional, Chicago and TV actor Bernard Gilbert who was in “Father Comes Home…” is artist Stokes and Chicago actress Maya Vinice Prentiss  (Definition, Pegasus, Teatro Vista,) is Stokes’ girlfriend, Riley, a computer guru.

The two of them interact in the present time with the couple who open the show, Griffin and Tami.

Broadway and Chicago actor Keith Randolph Smith is Griffin, recently released from prison for a crime he did not commit and is adjusting to his new life.

His good friend, Tami, an artist and an art academy director, is played by longtime Goodman and Chicago Shakespeare actress Karen Aldridge.

The title suggests the play can be a guide to creation in some form and fulfillment can take on many different forms. But the underlying theme here is creation in its most human form, creating another human.

DETAILS:  “How to Catch Creation” is at Goodman Theatre, 170 N. Dearborn St., Chicago, through Feb. 24, 2019. Running time: approximately 2 hrs., 15 min. with 1 intermission. For tickets and other information call (312) 443.3800) and visit Goodman Theatre.

Jodie Jacobs

For more shows visit Theatre in Chicago

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