We began day four in Chicago with an exciting Talkback about the previous night’s production of Ayad Akhtar’s play Disgraced, at the Goodman Theatre. Steve Oxman had told us, in his talk our first morning, to expect fireworks, and the production did not disappoint. Many of our travelers found Disgraced to be a remarkably provocative and courageous play. It generated a discussion that ranged from issues of ethnicity and identity, to ideas about integration of our society, to anti-Muslim prejudice, to antisemitism. In the play, layers of politeness are gradually stripped away, as characters confront each others’–and their own–deep hatred. When a character in a play confesses to having felt a “blush” of pride on September 11, 2001, you know we’re getting past surfaces.
We also heard glowing reports from travelers who had gone off to see other productions the previous evening (after the matinee of Disgraced). Timeline Theatre’s production of Arthur Miller’s The Price, in a 99 seat storefront theatre, made a powerful impression on a number of our party. Steve Oxman had recommended a new musical–Riding the Cyclone–about six teenagers who have died in a roller coaster accident, playing at the Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, and that production impressed as well.
With the weather continuing to treat us well–cooler today, but sparkling blue skies–more of us went of to take the Architectural Boat Tour, run by the Architecture Society. This is a remarkable way to see the city. The boat travels up the Chicago River, then off onto two different branches, then back down to the Navy Pier. The views are spectacular from start to finish, and our guide was enormously knowledgeable. Each of us who has taken the tour has come back raving about it, and with good cause.
In the evening, we headed up to the Miracle Mile, to Lookingglass Theatre (located in the historic Water Tower Waterworks building), to see Mary Zimmerman’s adaptation of Treasure Island.