For those of you who have been reading my blog since it’s inception in October 2007, you know how much I love Tracy Letts’ Pulitzer and Tony-winning August: Osage County and think it’s one of the greatest American contemporary plays (something Time Magazine seems to agree with, having selected it as number 1 in its Best Plays of the Decade list). Curiously though, I have never seen a live production of any of Letts’ previous plays- Killer Joe, Bug, or the Pulitzer finalist Man from Nebraska. Obviously I didn’t think he sprang fully-formed and awards-ready from a mythical Great Playwright mother pearl, so August, with its almost-perfect dialogue and its mesmerizing storytelling could only be the culmination of techniques and themes that he used in the earlier ones. I was also very aware of the semi-notoriety that both Killer Joe and Bug have in terms of its raw sexuality and violence, so I was very intrigued to see how Profiles Theatre, the admittedly brazen storefront theater company that I’ve had a rollercoaster love-it/hate-it relationship over the years of Chicago theater watching would stage Killer Joe. Although I don’t think it has the depth, the impact, and the lingering quality of August (really though, which recent play has?), the twenty year old Killer Joe holds up pretty well, continuing to deliver the goods in explosive drama, and the Profiles production, directed by Letts’ fellow Steppenwolf ensemble member (and original August cast member) Rick Snyder is a (literally) rip-roaring night at the theater. And it’s still the one play that has the most original use of KFC drumsticks as stage props that I’ve ever seen.
Tags: Profiles Theatre