On the Shore of the Wide World
Simon Stephens' play, which won the prestigious British 'Olivier Award' as the best new play in 2006, is currently receiving its Chicago Premiere produced by the Griffin Theatre Company. I attended yesterday's matinee and concur with the critics' reviews that this is an outstanding production. Jonathan Berry directed with focus and cohesiveness essential for the multi-generational story.
The play tells of three generations of the Holmes family whose lives are touched by tragedy and gradually uncovered during the course of the play until you feel like you are a part of their family. During the first two sections the tension builds and events suggest the potential of dire fates for some of the family, but there are also glimmers of hope and the ultimate outcome is not clear until the last scene. The cast was excellent with Paul D'Addario and Elise Kauzlaric exceptional as the parents, Peter and Alice. Josh Schecter, new to this theater, was a convincing young Christopher Holmes while the grandfather, Charlie, a difficult role, was handled with rough-hewn realism by Norm Woodel. The portrayal of both hesitant young love and unique adult tensions was a key aspect of this thought-provoking drama. I would highly recommend it.