A Short Story Made Long

This is a short story which I will make long. Peggy and I have been theater goers ever since we married. For three years we subscribed to Chicago Shakespeare Theater. We looked forward to going, but always came home wondering what-the-heck is was all about. I was lucky if I understood fifty percent of what the actors said. Peg felt the same. In a cock-eyed way we enjoyed Shakespeare, maybe because it was a night out in the big town. Then, I learned that my friend Sherman and his wife Harriet were avid Steppenwolf Theater fans. My only association with Steppenwolf  came when I recognized the theater while driving by. I had heard the name many times, and my ears stood up when I drove past the building.

We subscribed to Steppenwolf in 2007 for the same nights as Harriet and Sherman. We have been members ever since. One of the first plays we attended is “Superior Donuts.” Sherman could not laud playwright Tracy Letts enough for his writing ability, and raved about a play they saw during the last season called “August: Osage County” also by Tracy Letts.

Unknown

All along, I kept telling myself that I have to see this play. From Steppenwolf the play went to Broadway lasting two years and receiving rave reviews. Then, Tracy Letts won a Pulitzer Prize for Drama for “Osage.”  All the while, Peg and I have watched five plays a year since then, and many of them featured Tracy Letts as actor. He is a fine performer. Our record of coming home not understanding what went on has improved and we now understand all the dialog.

This week, I accomplished the goal to see “August: Osage County.” Peg and I opened our winter movie season by seeing this film. The story has strong characters played by fine actors, two of which you will recognize immediately, Meryl Streep, and Julia Roberts.

I don’t know what it is about playwrights they always seem to write their best stories about dysfunctional families. I admit, Osage is about one really screwed up family. The story is riveting, as screwed up as the people are. This was one film that went by fast, and My old man bladder held out for the distance. There was no way I would  interrupt seeing one minute of this performance.

There is one thing left for this story, an Oscar. The film did not receive a nomination, but Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts have both been nominated, I agree that both should win.

Triple Header

Wow! What a fabulous time Peg and I had last week. My friend Lou and his wife Delores, came in from Dahlonega, Georgia to visit family. We were lucky enough to hook up, so we traded news and recalled old times. Lou is the same guy who joined me on a bicycle trip to Nova Scotia (you can read the account of our trip on my Page titled “Nova Scotia.”) We worked together for some twenty years before he moved to a warm climate for health reasons.

Peggy and I had already purchased tickets for Steppenwolf Theater when we learned of Lou and Delores’ plans to come. I called the theater, the staff was most accomodating. The four of us went to dinner at the Landmark Restaurant immediately across from Steppenwolf. Our meal was fabulous, and the service by Brenna superb.  We sauntered across the street ten minutes before curtain to see “Superior Donuts.”  I thought this play was the best of the collection at Steppenwolf this season. It was serious, comedic, and fast moving. I rate it four stars.

After the show I drove over to Rush Street and then on to Michigan Avenue. I wanted to show Lou and Delores the “Bean, alias Cloud Scape.”  It was not to be. Since I was southbound there was a huge planter filled with magnificent flowers blocking our view. I turned east onto Monroe wanting to come back and pass toward the north.  I couldn;t believe my eyes, there were thousands of people walking down Monroe from Grant Park. Unknown to me, there was a concert, and it had just let out. In a way, it was nice to see so many people walking the streets of downtown Chicago at eleven o’clock in the evening. With all of the confusion, I pointed the car south and got out of there.

The best part of the evening was spending time with Lou and Delores, next was dinner, then Superior Donuts. A triple header, It doesn’t get much better!

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