True West | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

Sign up for our newsletters Subscribe


TRUE WEST, Shortbridge Theatre Troupe, at the New Harrison Street Galleries Studio Theatre. Small companies reviving Sam Shepard's oft produced 1981 play about a pair of bickering brothers can learn a lesson from this production. Its two young leads--Benjamin Myers and Andy Schoen, both still in college--lack the range and depth of seasoned actors. And they're working in a situation that's wrong in lots of ways: the set is cheap and unconvincing, the track lighting unsophisticated, the space poorly ventilated and not air-conditioned.

But none of this matters because Myers, Schoen, and their fellow cast members, J.A. Moss and Sasha Geappo, have done their homework. The actors understand the script and know what makes their characters tick; speaking their lines more or less correctly is icing on the cake. Even more important, Schoen, who also directs, doesn't muck things up with a "clever" take on the material. Nor does he insist on annoying PC casting choices the way Bailiwick did recently by making one brother deaf despite Shepard's clear intention that both be hearing. Instead Schoen simply re-creates the world Shepard describes, and that's enough to provide an enjoyable experience.

Support Independent Chicago Journalism: Join the Reader Revolution

We speak Chicago to Chicagoans, but we couldn’t do it without your help. Every dollar you give helps us continue to explore and report on the diverse happenings of our city. Our reporters scour Chicago in search of what’s new, what’s now, and what’s next. Stay connected to our city’s pulse by joining the Reader Revolution.

Are you in?

  Give $35/month →  
  Give $10/month →  
  Give  $5/month  → 

Not ready to commit? Send us what you can!

 One-time donation  → 

Add a comment