Recommended*** There is something special about attending a new work of theater- being “in at the onset” and each year, Steppenwolf Theatre Company presents its’ “First Look Repertory” at the Garage, we, the theater audiences of Chicago are treated to developing scripts, but not as readings, but rather as full scale productions with sets, direction ,lights and props- exciting times on Halsted Street. Produced by Jacob Padron, this year, the 8th, there are three productions that will run until August 25th- I only had time to view one, “Buena Vista” written by Edith Freni, directed by Tim Hopper on a set by William Boles.
The story is dark, but does have some comical moments. Our hero ( or is he?), Noah (Luigi Sottile, arrives at what was the family cabin in an isolated area of Colorado. He is under the impression that it is vacant and is surprised to find that his estranged mother Freddy ( deftly handled by Karen Veccaro) is there, with all of her belongings. There is no heat and boxes are strewn everywhere. Noah asks his mother to leave, but as wel learn, she has nowhere to go.. Noah then contacts his father Tom ( a powerhouse performance by Rich Komenich) to come up to the cabin and end this charade as to who has the right to live there. As the story goes on, we learn more about the life that Noah has had and how he was raised. We also learn more about why this family is estranged and some of the causes for the dysfunction.
There are some twists and turns in this story as the time goes on- some mysterious- involving Noah’s love life and when Monica arrives, all hell breaks loose. Monica had left Noah and part of his personal problems came to be from this situation. He loves her, or so he says, and proposes to her, which she accepts, but after they have sex ( well presented with a slight comical touch) we learn that Noah is not what he appears to be and his choices are not ones that Tom would want him to have. The play ends with some mystery,which I cannot get into as I would hate to ruin what you might see, but since this is a play in “development”, I will tell you that Freni needs to add a few touches to make this a stronger production.
August 17th at 8 p.m.
August 18th at 1 p.m.
August 21st at 8 p.m.
August 24th at 4:30 p.m.
August 25th at 8 p.m.
Tickets are $20 ( $15 for students) and can be purchased at the box office 1650 N. Halsted, by phone at 312-335-1650 or online at www.steppenwolf.org/firstlook, where you can also find information on the other two plays: “Annie Bosh is Missing” and “The Gospel of Franklin” as well as the readings: “Barbecue”, “Tempo” and “Your Name Will Follow You Home” ( Readings may be developed in the years to come. To see what others are saying, visit www.theareinchicago.com, go to review-roundup and click on First Look or play by titles.