Theater Review: The Last of the Boys—a memory of Vietnam

StoryImage( ‘/Images/Story//Auto-img-113036246931923.jpg’, ‘Photo by Michael Brosilow’, ‘Ensemble member Tracy Letts appears in Last of the Boys by Steven Dietz, directed by ensemble member Rick Snyder. The production runs until Nov. 13, 2005 in the Steppenwolf Downstairs Theatre, 1650 N. Halsted. For tickets, visit or call 312-335-1650.’);

Steppenwolf’s The Last of the Boys with John Judd as Jeeter and Tracy Letts as Ben examines the lives of two veterans of ‘Nam still living the agony of those years. Ben lives in an abandoned trailer park, and Jeeter teaches at a liberal college. Both consume unbelievable quantities of beer and find radically different ways to reconcile the past.

Jeeter spends his off hours as a Rolling Stones groupie, hoping to find solace in their music and his lost past. The death of Ben’s father brings fantasies of the politicians who created the killing fields. An employee in the auto indusstry, Ben’s father idolized Robert McNamara, and his political views destroyed his relationship with his son.

As Jeeter travels the country, his secondary goal is to develop relationships with younger women. His latest conquest, Salyer (Mariann Mayberry), too, is a lost soul. Pursued by her mother, Lorraine (Amy Morton), she searches for the identity of an unknown father.

The young people of the ’60s dealt with a war fought for all the wrong reasons. Today’s conflicts replicate that period and make The Last of the Boys impact on the future of those in Iraq. Will they, too, carry the wounds of their past as do the veterans of Vietnam?

Playing through Nov. 13 in the Downstairs Theatre at Steppenwolf, tickets may be obtained by calling (312) 654-5656. Steppenwolf Theatre is at 1650 N. Halsted St. in Chicago.

From the Oct. 26-Nov. 1, 2005, issue

Enjoy The Rock River Times? Help spread the word!