I love Steppenwolf. I love the Steppenwolf style of acting. I also really like Tracy Letts. Bug was one of my favorite plays I’ve ever seen in New York. Killer Joe is a killer script (although the particular production I saw bugged me because the accents were pretty bad, and as someone who’s lived in Texas and who’s married to an Oklahoman, I know that accent.)
Still, I have a tiny bit of mixed feelings about this play, which we saw last night. The first act is really good. The second act is phenomenal. I mean, just amazing, perfect, wonderful, leaving the audience buzzing and giddy. But the third act…hmm. A few too many revelations for me, I think, with not a lot of ’em wrapped up.
Perhaps the build-up of it being “the greatest play ever” and “winner of everything” made it hard to live up to the buzz. Perhaps the second act is so good that the third act could never build beyond it. Or perhaps it’s a little too familiar: “The Big Chill meets Long Day’s Journey Into Night,” I believe M more or less said. But I really wanted to walk out jumping up and down about how awesome it all was, and instead I was in a very thinky, analytical, dramaturgy mode. The complete opposite of the visceral excitement at the end of act two.
Still, overall, I was pretty blown away. Some really funny dialogue, some brilliant moments, and some unbelievably great acting. I could single out Amy Morton, Estelle Parsons, Molly Regan, Robert Foxworth and Frank Wood, but really every single one of them is just incredible.
In fact, now that I think of it, everything I’ve ever seen that’s come from Steppenwolf has been pretty damn amazing. So I’m going to go out on a limb and give the controversial opinion that those guys rock.