The Playgoer: Chris Jones blogs

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Thursday, September 27, 2007

Chris Jones blogs

Welcome to the blogosphere, Chicago Tribune critic Chris Jones. Impressive that the Trib seems ahead of the curve on giving their lead reviewer a daily blog of his own. We'll see if this becomes a trend...

Among recent postings, reports on troubles at Chi-town's celebrated African American company Congo Square and coverage of the Goodman's production of Sara Ruhl's triptych Passion Play.

I found this lede to his linked review of the new Steppenwolf Crucible surprisingly intriguing:

Anna D. Shapiro’s arresting, impassioned, full-throttle Steppenwolf Theatre Company revival of “The Crucible” is not so much a revisionist take on Arthur Miller’s familiar 1953 allegory as an expansion and intensification of an iconic drama dulled over time by its constant classroom presence. Forget the schoolroom stupor. You’ll be snapped immediately awake by these highly theatrical manifestations of hysteria.

This is by no means a crude or overwrought show. But in apparent directorial intent, at least, it’s a “Crucible” ramped up and underscored for the age of the “Jesus Camp,” the disturbing 2006 documentary wherein teens flail and wail at the direction of their elders and in front of a camera. It’s a “Crucible” for an era of globally warmed religious fire, wherein city streets routinely fill with chanting mobs demanding spiritual vengeance that does not succumb to logic. It’s a “Crucible” that wants to shoot a warning shot at fear-mongering in the name of national security.

There may be post-McCarthy life in the old play yet.

4 comments:

Steve On Broadway (SOB) said...

I saw the show on Sunday night. It's good, and the allegories extend far beyond the McCarthy witchhunts, thanks in part to Shapiro's casting.

Anonymous said...

Please spread the word to your friends who think he is self righteous.

NYC

The Playgoer said...

Just so everyone's clear who "NYC" means--he's referring to something I said in a previous post about Arthur Miller. Not Mr. Jones.

Anonymous said...

My apologies.
Right you are sir.

Reflects Mr. Miller. Jones has nothing to do with it.
I'm referring to a Sept. 6th posting.

Sorry about that playgoer !

NYC