American Magic

Palm Beach Dramaworks' Voice of the Prairie pulls national identity from the ether

Nanique Gheridian and Todd Allen Durkin play the prarie.
Nanique Gheridian and Todd Allen Durkin play the prarie.


Written by John Olive. Directed by William Hayes.

With Todd Allen Durkin, Nanique Gheridian, and Gordon McConnell. Presented through June 10 at Palm Beach Dramaworks, 322 Banyan Blvd., West Palm Beach. Call 561-514-4042, or visit

When Leon sells his radios, he is telling a story about a future that is willed into being by the act of speech. When Quinn goes on the air, he is cementing a past — for himself, for the long-lost Frankie, and for the country he touches — that is more romantic and full of promise than whatever actually happened. Frankie's belief in that promise is easy: Her whole life has been a collection of fictions told and believed, and she can believe this one as easily as the next. By simply going to see The Voice of the Prairie, one becomes a member of the same fictional country that bought these stories and loved them, and the flash of recognition one feels as the play unfolds makes one wonder if it's a story at all.

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