You see that list of "Recently seen" plays to the right? On Sunday, I saw Court's Wild Duck and followed it up with Goodman's Desire Under the Elms. Last night it was American Theater Company's doubleheader of True West and topdog/underdog.
What that list doesn't reflect is Saturday night, when I caught up with Revolutionary Road (and Oscar nominee Michael Shannon).
You guys, that is a LOT of freaking tragedy and sacrifice and dark sides of the human condition to absorb in three days' time. No wonder I'm so looking forward to the press opening of Xanadu tomorrow night.
You can read my thoughts on Wild Duck here, and on the ATC shows next week. On the Revolutionary Road front, I was really taken in by the picture. I haven't read the novel and so can't make that comparison, but I thought the movie was beautifully shot, marvelously cast, and the screenplay was well-structured. I also haven't yet seen The Reader, but I can't imagine that what Kate Winslet does in that film is better than her work here.
As for Desire Under the Elms, I heartily concur with Christopher Piatt's estimation, even though we saw it separately. The central performances from Carla Gugino, Pablo Schreiber and Brian Dennehy are appealing but disconnected. I can't help but think that if Bob Falls had paid more attention to directing his actors and the rhythms of the script, and less time plotting his Bob Dylan music video and his bombastic flying log cabin—I would love to hear the dramaturgical justifications for those incredibly distracting choices—that Gugino, Schreiber and Dennehy could have made for a great Desire.
It's a play I greatly admire. Falls's production is the third I've seen in Chicago in the four years that I've been writing reviews (GreyZelda and the Hypocrites were behind the other two). And the Goodman's production is the least effective of the three.