Florence and Wine in the Wilderness, eta Creative Arts, 7558 S. South Chicago Ave. in Grand Crossing, 773-752-3955; through March 3.
Alice Childress, author of the novel A Hero Ain’t Nothin’ but a Sandwich and the first woman to win an Obie Award, was also the first African American woman to have a play professionally produced. That play, Florence (1949) is the curtain-raiser of this evening of her work, and while it receives a fine production anchored by the delicate performance of Kona N. Burks, it’s the second piece—written twenty years later—that’s the real find. Wine in the Wilderness, set in the chaos of the late 60s, shows a black man coming painfully to terms with the idea that he doesn’t get to define black womanhood. Under Mignon McPherson Stewart’s capable direction, Mark Howard and Alicia Ivy White conduct a romance that’s as sweet as it is unconventional.