Wednesday, May 11, 2011


I encourage y'all in the Chicago area to check out a new play, Festen, at Steep Theatre. Aside from my friend M is in it, it is really fantastic, and I predict it's going to be a sell-out. It's about a family dinner party and there's a little mystery about one of the characters. I hate to say too much about it because it's interesting to watch the drama unfold slowly. Although I will warn you to say there's a deep dark secret that everyone's ignoring (HINT: imagine the deepest, darkest family secret you can think of).

I thought the way the family choose to ignore this secret was very true - I think many families are very good about pretending certain events never happened, and audiences will surely relate to that. There are a couple of scenes where you almost want to leap out of your chair and run onstage and there was more than one mini-explosion in the audience the night we went. I'd imagine that will happen frequently because of the intensity of the story.

One of my favorite scene's took place in a bedroom, but three sets of actors treated the space as if it was their own room. That was really impressive. There were a few other technical details which I thought were really great - a bit of hyper-realistic slo-mo, incredibly subtle sound. Steep Theatre is a great little theatre (near the Berwyn red line), and, for this particular show, the audience sits on two sides around a quite small stage. I thought that gave the stage a sort of sports-field quality, like a mini-game of football, which really hightened the intensity for me - it was as if the characters were in a Colosseum and had to fight to the death in there.

I was happy to see another review that compared Festen to The Big Meal, which I also felt as well, but couldn't quite put my finger on, aside from how you cannot merely watch the show, it's impossible not to become emotionally invested in the story.

1 comment:

Carrie said...

What do you mean a mini explosion? Did someone storm out or shout?