Columbia College Chicago Theatre Alum and Student Praised for ‘Riveting’ Performances in South African Drama at ETA Creative Arts

Alicia Watley

Jelani Smith

Columbia College Chicago Theatre Department alum Alicia Watley ’16, a graduate of the Theatre Department’s BA Program in Acting, and student Jelani Smith, a senior in the Acting BA program, received a rave review in the Chicago Reader, Chicago’s leading alternatively weekly news and arts publication, for their performances in By the Apricot Trees, running through April 2 at ETA Creative Arts Foundation, 7558 S. South Chicago Ave., on Chicago’s south side.

“Set in a prison cell in South Africa in the mid-70s, Ntsako Mkhabela’s two-hander is a bleak and claustrophobic work. Based on her mother’s experiences in solitary confinement (her punishment for participating in the 1976 Soweto uprising), this searing drama tells the story of a woman pushed to the brink of insanity by isolation. Still, she finds comfort and a degree of redemption in long rambling conversations with an imaginary companion, an idealized version of her younger self. . . . Mkhabela’s words hit hard, and . . . Alicia Watley and Jelani Smith are riveting as, respectively, the prisoner and the companion she hallucinates,” writes Reader critic Jack Helbig.

For tickets, call 773-752-3955 or click here.