peteg's blog - noise - theatre - 2014 10 02 Smokefall

Goodman Theatre: Smokefall

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My first time at the Goodman, and at a Loop theatre, though I walked past them all the time when I first got to Chicago. Another Goldstar ticket: $31.50 + $6.75. They gave me a pretty decent seat, better than at the Steppenwolf last week. I got chatting with the lady sitting next to me. She has season tickets to the ballet and symphony, and was not so much into the theatre. She gave me the rundown on the old Ukrainian Village: bordered by Division and Chicago, Damen and Western, roamed by Urge Overkill back in the day. You had to be there. Her timing was apparently perfect on picking up the stats processing software, R and so forth: she teaches people how to crank the unending streams of data, amongst other things.

Before this I burnt some time at Starbucks with a croissant, and had a Blue Moon Belgian White when I got to the Goodman. The play got moving quite agreeably: a narrator / footnoter makes an appearance and starts sketching the family we follow for the first act. At some point the set exploded and most of the audience went to the bathroom. The following birth scene was what the one in Tristram Shandy was going to be, and the humour was both low- and high-brow, probably annoying everybody. The swearing went a bit over-the-top somewhere around here. There was loads of repetition humour, and while I did find some poignancy in some of it (maybe over-identifying with one or two of the characters), it was once again mostly an exercise in affirming the American soul, which hopefully resonated with the rest of the audience. The acting was quite fine across the board.

This was a reprise of last year's run. Same cast, I believe. Chris Jones gives a local's impressions, with a few clangers. (Those twins do know that they're better off in the womb.) He had another go a week past.