Sunday, January 13, 2008

the landscape of the play

This is the only shot -- a poor one, I'm afraid -- that I managed to get off last night at the Imperial before the owner of this Playbill returned to his seat and lifted it away as the curtain rose on Tracy Letts' August: Osage County.

Seeing a Steppenwolf production on Broadway is like visiting old friends who have moved to the big city from the somewhere where you first met: They're shinier, a little wiser, maybe wearing a careworn hipness about them -- but they're still old friends and the time you spend together feels a whole lot like home.

Lett's delivered a three act monster production peopled by all the shining lights of Steppenwolf (left my Playbill behind so I'll have to circle back with names and their proper spellings [1] -- but Amy Morton led the pack, of course) and Lett's script managed to do that marvellous thing that he did so well in the Man from Nebraska -- portray the way people take on the essence of the place they're from and the places they escape to -- creating a humane terroir of the kind that characterizes wine in which you can taste the earth and the sunlight (or lack thereof) in each sip.

The only sour note in the whole Oakie-gothic middle class drug addled production was the wardrobing of the 14 year old reportedly from Boulder, Colorado. The clothes looked 14-years old enough -- but they weren't the clothes of a 14 year old pothead who grew up under the Flatirons with a CU professor father. Not even close.

But certainly to the point, which is that we carry the unconscious artifacts of our surroundings with us. Wardrobe, in this case, brought something to the table that looked like very much like Evanston, Illinois.

Completely unrelated: Stephen Sondheim was seated nearby, catching a show in his neighborhood. Unrushed. Smiling. Standing to let a late arrival stutter past his knees. Entirely organic to the city he calls home, and scattering, unconsciously, a little of that magic pixie dust as he smiled, stood and moved.

Posting by cameraphone.
Just about home myself.

[1] The whole cast is laid out beautifully in this NY Times Review »


anniemcq said...


Thank you for letting me live vicariously through you for a few sweet days!

SarahB said...

Ah lovely. I'm so glad you saw it. I want all of my friends to see it, but for some reason I had a particular need for you to see it and I barely know you.

suttonhoo said...

thanks so much for the nudge, sarahb -- it was such a great gothic tangled up mess. I loved every minute of it. :)

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