Theater: Spinning Into Butter

By Rebecca Gilman

An African-American student at a placid Vermont college is getting anonymous hate notes. The college responds, predictably, with race-sensitivity forums. Rebecca Gilman's new play, having its world premiere at Chicago's Goodman Theatre, could have been an easy diatribe against racism and the perils of political correctness. Instead, it's a complex, unnerving look at the way real people navigate between them both. Mary Beth Fisher gives a penetrating performance as the dean whose life is unraveled by the case. Gilman sets the play entirely in the dean's office yet creates a more convincing world offstage than most playwrights these days do onstage....

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