For those left cold by most page-to-stage adaptations, bundle up if you intend to see “after the quake,” director Frank Galati’s theatrical reworking (for Steppenwolf) of two short stories—they are combined here, as a story-within-a-story—by the Japanese writer Haruki Murakami, who derived his subject matter from the earthquake that leveled Kobe, Japan in 1995. But natural disaster, per se, isn’t what really interests either Murakami or Galati; the focus is in on the seismic shifts of one’s own emotional landscape, which are often set in motion by external forces that can seem as random and incomprehensible as an earthquake—or a hurricane. The problem is, this kind of indirect metaphysical pondering often works better when you’re reading, as opposed to watching. The production, however, is clean and exquisite looking; scenic designer James Schuette has created a playing area that is all right angles and black lacquer, encased in curving steel bands that suggest post-modern shoji screens. (Nina Metz)
This production is now closed.