By: Tracy Letts
Reviewed by: Frank West
“You’re a whole life to live…” says a person trying to encourage someone to be optimistic about the future. The person who is being encouraged is Wheeler. Wheeler is the central character in Linda Vista.
The press release says about him: “Wheeler is 50. His marriage is over, his job is mundane, and the best years of his life appear to be behind him. A move from a cot in his ex-wife’s garage to his own apartment opens up new possibilities for love and sex—complicated, painful, and hilarious. Full of options, yet short on self-examination. Wheeler must reconcile the man he has become with the man he wants to be.”
However, Wheeler is unable to move on. He is angry and lost. Tracy Letts, who wrote the play says: “I have a lot of compassion…for Wheeler…” Even though he doesn’t have “emotional access…to move on to the next thing.”
About that missing quality, the director, Dexter Bullard says, “Loneliness, aggression, friendship, intimacy, sex, dreams, loss, obsessions are all wrapped in this hugely funny and edgy play.”
The acting made for a great theatre experience. Many times I’d seen the acting skills of Ian Barford (Wheeler) and Tim Hopper. But I had never seen Cora Vander Broek perform before. She is a brilliant actor.
We see the character flaws of Wheeler and the bad decisions he has made. Maybe we can learn from his example, because we too have lives to lead.
Linda Vista will be produced by Steppenwolf Theatre, now through May 21. The theatre is located at 1650 N. Halsted in Chicago.
Tuesdays-Sundays at 7:30.
Saturday and Sunday matinees at 3:00.
Tickets range from $20-$94.
The box office phone is 312-335-1650 or visit Steppenwolf.org