GOODMAN THEATRE: A CENTURY OF SUCCESS
23 February 2018
In July of 1922, the Art Institute of Chicago received a donation of a quarter million dollars from William and Erna Goodman[i]. This generous gift from the Goodman’s was meant to memorialize their late son, Kenneth Sawyer Goodman, an ardent playwright who had passed away during the influenza epidemic of 1918. While Kenneth Sawyer Goodman had produced many successful plays in his lifetime, his dream had always been of a playhouse that would deftly combine expert theatrical training with world renown performances. Intent on carrying out his dream, the Goodman’s asked the Art Institute to ensure Kenneth’s artistic vision continued past his untimely death. Nearly 100 years following Kenneth Sawyer Goodman’s death, his dream lives on at the theatre that took his name, now under the artistic direction of Chicago’s own Robert Falls.
The Goodman Theatre is but one of the many excellent playhouses found throughout Chicago. Situated as it is in the heart of the Cultural Mile, 1000M is only a short ten-minute drive from this world-renowned theatre. Whether you are looking for a fascinating and humorous take on politically relevant events, or just want to re-experience the classics, the Goodman Theatre is sure to have it all.
In his new play Blind Date, playwright Rogelio Martinez takes on the mounting tensions between the United States and Russia by looking back at past crisis moments the two countries have weathered together. In an attempt to halt the arms race between the United States and Russia, Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev meet for tea with their wives. Replete with historical tidbits most have likely forgotten, including Nancy Reagan’s fear that the meeting occurred in mercury’s retrograde and was therefore ill-fated, Blind Date reminds us of the intrigue of the period while also providing a much needed humorous reprieve to our current political situation. Though Nancy Reagan, played by Diana Dunagan, steals the show with her delicate and nuanced performance, the entire cast is replete with famous Chicago actors known for their incredible abilities[ii]. The play will run until the end of February.
// Tickets may be purchased here //
With the release of her “uncannily assured first play” in 2016,[iii] Sara DeLappe took the theatre scene by storm. The Wolves tells the story of a high school girls’ soccer team and expertly captures all of the intense and complicated emotions swimming through the team. Though the play only takes place during pre-game warm ups and never shows actual gameplay, the actors for the Goodman’s production nevertheless spent months training with professional players. Their dedication has resulted in a remarkable performance that evinces the strangely universal confusion of adolescence. Morgan Greene, writing for the Tribune, praises the Goodman’s staging of DeLappe’s first play, “Vapid chatter erupts into conversations about ambition, fear and loss. “The Wolves” is only about soccer as much as the movie “I, Tonya” is only about figure skating; it’s a sports play that’s as much about existing in the world as a young woman as it is about the game”[iv]. With a total run time of 90 minutes, The Wolves is playing at the Goodman Theatre until March 11th.
// Tickets may be purchased here //
AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE
Under the deft direction of Chicago’s own Robert Falls, An Enemy of the People brings Henrik Ibsen’s 1882 Norwegian classic back to the stage just as its underlying themes become relevant once again. Ibsen wrote An Enemy of the People in response to the negative outcry his previous play had received for its subversion of Victorian moral codes and its oblique reference to sexually transmitted diseases. As such, the play concerns itself with a Doctor who realizes there is a deadly source of contamination in his town’s main tourist attraction, their famous health baths. Despite the clear health issues they pose, the Doctor is castigated by his fellow town members, and is indeed threatened with violence should he release his findings publicly. Through the Doctor’s exasperated witticisms, Ibsen critiques the idea of an ‘absolute morality’ in a comical yet ultimately dramatic fashion[v]. An intense examination of the clash between environmental and economic issues, An Enemy of the People radiates with contemporary relevance.
On March 11th, join the Goodman’s Artistic Director Robert Falls in conversation with playwright Bret Neveu who has recently adapted the play himself, as they discuss the difficulty of adapting such a canonical piece as well as the relevance of its themes to our modern world. An Enemy of the People runs from March 11th to April 15th.
// Tickets may be found here //