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Friday, December 14, 2012

"South Side Stories" gets extended run

Posted By on Fri, Dec 14, 2012 at 12:02 PM

It’s the final weekend for the regular run of Tami Dixon’s hit one-woman show at City Theatre. Those shows might already be sold out. But South Side Stories is a big enough hit that City’s bringing it back for a week in January.

Get your tickets now, though: Seats for the six additional performances at the South Side theater, Jan. 8-13, probably won’t last long.

The show’s been widely praised, including in this review by CP’s Ted Hoover.

But a couple things are worth noting about the show, which I previewed in CP and then saw last week.

One, the series of characters Dixon plays (most based on oral-history-style interviews) embody a couple distinctions that might not be apparent to non-South Siders heading in cold.

While the show takes place in the present, for instance, it’s only partly about the “South Side” that the name conjures for most people today, a booze-flooded party district. (As a recent former long-time South Sider myself, I’d add that it’s a booze-flooded party district only about 15 hours a week, and the rest of the time a pretty decent neighborhood.) The play’s mostly about the experience of people who'd lived there for decades and outlasted the collapse of the steel industry that for a century was the neighborhood’s lifeblood.

Second, Dixon is a resident of the South Side Slopes, which is adjacent to but distinct from the area most people know, the Flats. Many of the characters in South Side Stories are Slopes residents, too. The Slopes are buffered from bar traffic, if not from change in the broader sense, and the play would surely have had a different feel had Dixon lived in the Flats.

Still, what might seem most alien to audiences who didn’t grow up in the sort of tight-knit neighborhood Dixon’s characters recall is the feel of a lived-in community — one that people inhabit their whole lives, and where families dwelt for generations. It’s another trait of the neighborhood that Dixon depicts beautifully, but it’s one that in our increasingly transient society is more and more outside of people’s experience.

Tickets for South Side Stories start at $35. Call 412-431-2489 or see www.citytheatrecompany.org.

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