I Sailed with Magellan
Victory Gardens has reached the end of the first month of their World Premiere presentation of Stuart Dybek's I Sailed with Magellan. This play, adapted for the stage by Claudia Allen, is a paean to the neighborhoods and local color found in Chicago. I enjoyed the episodic vignettes that were used to convey the story of young Perry and his family. The acting was superb, especially Lance Baker's portrayal of Uncle 'Lefty' and both Bubba Weiler and Justin Cholewa as, respectively, the young Perry and teenage Perry. (I am a bit of a fan of Lance Baker having enjoyed his past interpretations of Stoppard in Travesties and The Invention of Love at the Court Theater).
While this play does not rise to the level of Stoppard it is satisfying in many respects in spite of the sometimes disjointed cuts between scenes and times. The attempt to evoke the dreams of young Perry was most effective in his relationship with his Uncle 'Lefty'. Less effective were the brief interludes of the teenage Perry exploring the world of young women. The underworld characters and their story, while understandably an important pert of the neighborhood color, did not mesh well with Perry's family story and the outlines of his coming-of-age story.
Victory Gardens has produced an entertaining play about some aspects of mid-century neighborhood Chicago.