Teddy Ferrara – by Judith Edlund

March 11, 2013 in Blog by Cindy-Bandle-Young-Critics

Being a Chicago high school student in 2013 I was very interested to see how “Teddy Ferrara” was going to affect me.  On press night I sat in the front row eagerly waiting to see what was about to unfold in front of me.  Almost 3 hours later I walked out of The Goodman’s Owen Theatre I was completely moved b  y what I had seen.  I went home and quickly posted on my Facebook “Just got home from press night at The Goodman for Teddy Ferrara, if you have a chance I recommend you to go see it.” I wanted to inform all my friends of the experience I had just had, just like any other high schooler on the world of social media.

Teddy Ferrara centers around a senior in college named Gabe (Liam Benzvi) head of the Student Queer Group.  His senior year seems to be off to a good start, new boyfriend named Drew (Adam Poss), single dorm room, and is considering running for student body president, and is looking forward to a very bright future.  However when tragedy strikes the campus Gabe’s whole life is turned upside down.  His thoughts and his over all belief system gets turned into doubt.   He goes to his new and old friends in the search for comfort and support yet struggles to find exactly what he needs.  The over all play centers around this tragedy once it occurs and how the adults see it one way and how the student body sees it another way.  Gabe feels that the faculty of the university are trying to take the blame, when he believes the students should be held responsible for their own actions and what they choose to do.

The actors portray their characters absolutely beautifully.  They made me believe everything I was seeing in front of me was actually happening right at that moment while I sat there and watched.  The overall diversity of gay characters they portrayed served as a reminder that theses people are not defined by their sexuality. They are defined by being themselves, being people who experience love, hate, and pain.  The message is clear: are people no matter what their sexuality may be.  I also thought the character of the University President was a perfect embodiment of how ignorant some people are when it come to the LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer) community.  He was telling stories about young people without having enough factual evidence to back up what he was criticizing them about.  I think that also goes to show how there is this sort of disconnect between our generation and older generations.

We are growing up in a time where Gay rights are so prevalent and how technology consumes our time and the way we communicate. The play deals very truthfully with the whole idea of the use of technology.  The whole notion of what’s private and what’s public. The college kids are in constant communication by text amongst many other technological forms, which leads to the formation of a different kind of communication.  Less face-to-face discussions, more texting.  Then with texting you are not able to hear the tone or inflection of peoples voices.  These are some of the obstacles Gabe and Drew have to deal with.

“Teddy Ferrara” is ultimately a play about young people having too experience love, pain and all the other obstacles that come with being young in 2013.  Christopher Shinn’s play is incredibly moving and such a compelling drama, so relevant to our lives and community right now.  Christopher’s characters are relatable because of all the different points of views that director Evan Cabnet makes sure to have them embody and that is just one of the many reasons why you should take time out of your busy Chicago life and go see Teddy before March 3rd!  If you do get the chance to see this I hope you will walk out of the theatre thinking, trying to understand more about yourself and the people and the world around you.