Regional Reviews: Chicago
Or maybe it really is Plano.
But we'll talk about that later. Okay it's later. Wasn't Plano great? (It really is.) But will the three sisters ever get to Plano? Am I just theater's undependable, incomprehensible husband, flitting from show to show, falling in love with every successful one, and disdaining every bad one, as if there really was a good or bad in any of this? (This 2018 comedy is highly successful, under the direction of Steppenwolf ensemble member Audrey Francis.) Am I making a horrible mistake comparing every play to Chekhov, and every actor to Eddie Bracken? (Heck no, Eddie Bracken was a genius.) Is that what makes a guy like me irresistible to a certain kind of woman? (It is.)
In Plano, a million rapid-fire soliloquies, mostly from Ann, Genevieve and Isabel (classically absurd Elizabeth Birnkrant, Ashley Neal and Amanda Fink) swirl delightfully, like fiery dots in "Star Trek," as if some perfect version of their husbands is just about to materialize. But it only gets more and more complicated every time.
Ann's husband (Christopher Acevedo) disappears every night, and sometimes goes by John or Juan; Genevieve's (Andrew Cutler) splits in two, after they did or did not divorce (in Genevieve's mind, she seems to have divorced him, but perhaps can't give him upor maybe it's the other way around). And Isabel is haunted by some unidentifiable disease that wracks her body, but which may only be a mysterious god, or a husband she secretly thinks is God, played by Andrew Lund in one of those creepy mirror masks and a costume that resembles a torn fencing uniform.
I mean, of course, a fencing uniform that looks like it's torn. Obviously it's not made out of torn fencing. That would just be distancing and would leave you feeling incomprehensibly vulnerable, as it would be a terrible means of protection against all the slugs and bees, right? I mean, do women really fence, verbally, with themselves and each other, non-stop for 90 minutes like this every night about their husbands or boyfriends or lovers? And torn fencing, while attractive wending its way around some run-down country barn, is just a symbol of decay and bad husbands who can't keep up a relationship and show extremely little interest in doing so, right?
All I'm saying is that relationships are both impossible and essential. And anyone who says otherwise is probably very happily married indeed, to someone who's completely miserable.
Plano, part of the LookOut Series, continues through March 28, 2020, at Steppenwolf Theatre Company, 1650 North Halsted Street. For tickets and information, please visit www.steppenwolf.org.
Cast (in order of appearance>):
Additional Production Credits:
* Denotes First Floor Company Member
** Denotes Steppenwolf Ensemble Member