A premiere at Steppenwolfs Garage TheatreUntil We Find Each Other
By Edith McCauley, Theater Critic
The Steppenwolf Theatre Complex expands constantly. New offices across Halsted in the old bank building, a rented space at the Royal George for special events, and next to the parking garage a flexible room that tests the creativity of set designers. Adapted for new works and short runs, it attracts the young and those with eclectic tastes. Brooke Bermans works have achieved recognition in London, New York and the Humana Festival. This play was written with a small commissioning grant from the National Foundation for Jewish Culture and developed at the ONeill Playwrights Conference in the summer of 2002.
Anna Shapiro directs, choosing her cast from the talented graduates of the School at Steppenwolf. The early career professionals inspired by their mentors at the school bring to the play the freshness and enthusiasm of youth.
Until We Find Each Other relates the search of three cousins coping with their Jewish heritage. Modern society makes demands that test their beliefs, and those who represent the various sects within Judaism present ideas often at odds with the lifestyle of these young adults. Sophy (Stephanie Bernstein), once a stripper and provider of sexual services, becomes a psychic and perceives herself as a prophet. Her cousin Miriam runs. Driving a truck from the U.S. to Mexico and back, her attachments are the hitchhikers she encounters. McKenna Kerrigan is Miriam, and returning to her home, she finds Justin (Louis Cancelmi) in residence with Tangee (Niki Prugh). Memories of their childhood return to haunt them, but the concern they have for one another dominates. Luke Hatton as the Rabbi and Steve ties the loose ends together. A quirky ending evokes some much-needed humor.
The Jeff Awards last week acknowledged small theaters and innovative new works. Goodman and Steppenwolf ware criticized in several publications for playing it safe. Dependent upon the financial support of the community and corporate sponsorship, mounting better-known works becomes feasible. Steppenwolfs outreach programs certainly do not fit that criteria.
Saturday nights in October, Ray Bradburys Fahrenheit 451 played as a part of the Arts Exchange Series. About Face Theatre is presenting Theatre District, starring Rick Snyder of the Steppenwolf ensemble, and just closing, an exceptionally well-done production of William Saroyans The Time of Your Life. Diversity attracts audiences, and with their newest production I Just Stopped By to See the Man opening next week, no one can complain about choices.