Lillian Hellman’s politics remain interesting because she understood how complicated her beliefs were; progress comes at a price. Hellman deftly investigates the Gordian knot of social issues featured in “Days to Come” with sly humor and heartbreaking pathos.
The wealthy Rodman family struggles to keep their brush factory open in the face of a strike. Andrew Rodman (Joe McCauley) brings in violent strike breakers; as factory conditions deteriorate, the Rodmans fall to pieces as well.
The script has its glitches; wife Julie Rodman’s (Leavey Ballou) dalliance with union man Leo Whalen (Tim Patrick Miller) seems to materialize out of thin air. But the ensemble, under Kathy Scambiatterra’s astute direction, smoothes over the rough spots: Miller’s regular-joe organizer is a model of conflicted decency; Gerard Jamroz’s slimy hood is a silky menace. Eustace Allen’s teeth-sucking thug is great fun; in typical Hellman fashion, we love the characters we should hate. (Lisa Buscani)
“Days to Come” plays at The Artistic Home, 3914 N. Clark, 866 811-4111, through November 29.