In Steppenwolf’s latest, playwright Enda Walsh paints a bleak picture of masculinity and what men must endure in today’s world: the cruelty of time, the savagery of economic survival, the political maneuverings of love.
Fitz (Tracy Letts), Quinn (Yasen Peyankov), Dunne (Scott Jaeck) and Burns (Ian Barford) are the remaining suitors vying for Penelope’s hand. They are running out of time; they’ve all dreamt of Odysseus’ return and their subsequent murders. The suitors work together to woo the queen.
Walsh’s wordplay gleams; his poetry captures the desperation of men who have devoted years to a hopeless cause. Letts and Barford manage to inject a shining humanity into the proceedings, while Peyankov and Jaeck highlight the venal strategy of men who will win at all costs. Amy Morton’s direction perfectly orchestrates the piece’s yearnings and Walt Spangler’s set highlights the worn cheapness of those who take life and love for granted. (Lisa Buscani)
Steppenwolf Theatre, 1650 North Halsted, (312)335-1650. Through February 5.