Smokefall | Goodman Theatre | Theater & Performance | Chicago Reader

Smokefall Member Picks The Short List (Theater) Recommended Closing (Theater and Galleries)

When: Tuesdays-Sundays. Continues through Nov. 3 2013

Noah Haidle is the current king of theatrical quirk, having taken the title fair and square from his former playwriting teacher Christopher Durang. Haidle's 2005 Rag and Bone concerns brothers who develop a trade in human hearts: they steal the cardiac muscles of sensitive people—a pediatrician who loves kids, a public defender who takes on the neediest clients, a poet—and sell them to the rich and emotionally numb. In Vigils, which premiered at Goodman Theatre in 2006, a widow keeps her dead husband's soul in the hope chest beside her bed. And Haidle's best-known script, Mr. Marmalade, gives us four-year-old Lucy, who finds herself unhappily married to a narcissistic and abusive imaginary friend. As Kerry Reid noted in a Reader review a few years back, Haidle once told American Theatre magazine that he doesn't "want to see any representation or mimesis of reality on stage. That's just outdated and can be done so much better in film and TV." I don't know—I'm ambivalent on the subject. (And so, apparently, is Haidle himself, inasmuch as he recently branched out into film, writing a 2012 buddy comedy called Stand Up Guys, with Al Pacino, Christopher Walken, and Alan Arkin as geriatric mobsters.) On the one hand, I can see his point: Why waste time reproducing the objective world onstage when you have the means to create an imaginative one at least theoretically capable of freeing you to express deeper truths? Naturalism, after all, is historically just a response to the empty spectacles and political complacency of late-19th-century European culture. There's no reason to hold it in awe, especially with the millions of smartphones deployed now, recording every fucking thing. Continue reading >>

Price: $10-$40