Arts & Culture » Performing Arts Review

Unchanging Love

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Somewhere Eugene O'Neill is smiling . . . grimly. Though based on a Chekhov story, Romulus Linney's 1991 script follows O'Neill by casting an American family's disintegration in classically tragic terms. The Agamemnon of the piece is old Benjamin Pitman, the richest man in dirt-poor Manard, North Carolina. As proprietor of the town's only general store, he's built an empire by cheating his neighbors. Now he's anxious to secure his dynasty, which means getting his son, Shelby, to produce an heir. Naturally, all Hades breaks loose. In this Artistic Home production the incredibly juicy roles of Shelby and the villainous Leena are disappointingly played, but under Gillian Kelly's direction, the ensemble's strong enough to make the tragedy tragic. And what a pleasure to see Gary Houston as the aging lion Benjamin. Through 8/20: Thu 7:30 PM, Fri-Sat 8 PM, Sun 5 PM, Artistic Home, 1420 W. Irving Park, 773-404-1100, $17-$22.

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