Two Trains Running | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Arts & Culture » Theater Critic's Choice

Two Trains Running


Sign up for our newsletters Subscribe


If anyone ever doubted August Wilson's talents, Goodman Theatre's production of Two Trains Running, now at the New Regal Theater, provides further proof that he is the greatest American playwright working today. Inspired by L.J. Welch's blues number "Still a Fool" ("There's two trains running / Ain't none of 'em goin' my way..."), Wilson uses a series of conversations at a Pittsburgh luncheonette to explore the broken dreams of African Americans who rode the rails north to freedom only to find another sort of slavery. Two Trains Running has less action than Wilson's previous plays, but he invests each of his characters with so much wisdom that every line of dialogue carries the dramatic force and lyrical poetry of a gospel prayer. From the disturbed Hambone's impassioned plea to be paid what he is owed to the independent-minded Risa's violent response to being treated as a sex object, the words and actions of Wilson's characters speak to entire generations of people who are not given the respect they deserve. Director Lloyd Richards's brilliant handling of a stellar cast continues the best director-playwright team in the business today. New Regal Theater, 1645 E. 79th, 721-9230. Reopens Thursday, March 4, 8 PM. Through March 14: Thursdays-Fridays, 8 PM; Saturdays-Sundays, 2:30 and 8 PM; Tuesday and Wednesday, March 9 and 10, 8 PM. $14-$32.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Eric Y. Exit.

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?

  Reader Revolutionary $35/month →  
  Rabble Rouser $25/month →  
  Reader Radical $15/month →  
  Reader Rebel  $5/month  → 

Not ready to commit? Send us what you can!

 One-time donation  → 

Add a comment