Here is the premise of James Sherman’s latest play, currently at Victory Gardens: You’ve come a long way, baby—but then again, no, not really. Act One takes place in a Rogers Park kitchen, the year 1970. Mom is busy making eggs for dad, who sits reading the paper and stiffly contemplating his day at the office. Soon Betty Friedan enters the conversation, and all hell breaks loose when mom starts questioning her predetermined, stay-at-home status. Fast forward three-and-a-half decades to Act Two. Same kitchen, same distracted breadwinner—but this time with a gender-role switcharoo. Mom is a high-powered attorney staring distractedly into her laptop, while dad hustles to make her a frittata. It isn’t so much a tale of two generations, or even a study in contrasts, as it is convenient cliché: the spouse who stays at home wins the moral superiority contest, whereas the spouse who works is portrayed as an emotional cipher. The couples in each act (played by the same actors, Laura T. Fisher and Joe Dempsey) come across as representative samples of an era—rather than individuals—just to make a point. I’m not really sure, though, what that would be. (Nina Metz)
This production is now closed.