Six Corners, presented as a world premier by the American Blues Theater, is described by its creator, Keith Huff, as the final installment of his “loose Chicago cop trilogy.” Huff himself once had a harrowing experience closely mirroring the events transpiring in his play. And as a Chicago resident who also married into a police family, he also clearly knows what it means to be a Chicago cop. This intimacy with the source material shows as Six Corners drips with authenticity (like a blood splatter at a homicide). A novice to Huff’s work, it made me want to immediately seek out the play’s two companion pieces (A Steady Rain, which made it to Broadway, and The Detective’s Wife).
In Six Corners a man falls on the train tracks after being shot in the head. Two good Samaritans valiantly pull him to safety only to then watch him die. Later they sit on a police bench waiting to tell their story to the detectives. Soon we learn a few troubling facts about the homicide victim that include his possible connection to an unsolved child murder that, even in a city of over six hundred homicides a year, stands out for its brutality.
One highlight of the play is watching Monica Orozco and Peter DeFaria’s portrayal of hardened Chicago detectives. Although separated by gender, age, and culture, the two partners are better defined by their willingness (or lack of willingness) to adhere to certain codes of conduct. Other stand out performances include Brenda Barrie and Manny Buckley as the two witnesses whose motivations in helping the stranger may not be exactly as they seem. Byron Glenn Willis also puts in a nice turn as the warm but less than perfect homicide victim.
As wonderful as the cast is, the script does take a bit long to come into focus. There are also a few head scratching plot lines including one involving the two detectives possibly consummating their relationship (which is unlikely considering that mutual loathing appears to be the glue keeping them together). At the same time, however, Six Corners effectively explores our need to make sense of a violent and unpredictable world. We want homicide stories to have a beginning, middle and, most importantly, an end. For those visited by violence, however, this end point is really more of a beginning.
Bottom Line: Six Corners is recommended and is playing through March 24 at Stage 773 (1225 West Belmont). Tickets are $19-$49 and can be purchased at AmericanBluesTheater or by calling (773) 327-5252.