Absolutely Fantastic! Straight White Men at Steppenwolf (February 28, 2017)

Straight White Men is about Ed and his three sons: Matt, Jake, and Drew (in order of eldest to youngest). They have all come together to celebrate Christmas. At first it’s all fun and games as the kids return to their childhood ways of goofing around with each other. The audience laughs along as these grown men in their 30s and 40s wrestle and generally act like children. Then, everything changes when Matt cries at dinner.

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Drew thinks Matt is depressed and insists he get therapy. After all, once he started going to therapy everything was fixed. Jake thinks Matt is fine and he is just rejecting his straight white male privilege by stepping aside and letting others have a chance. Ed thinks he is troubled by his student loans. Matt insists nothing is wrong and he is fine.

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The conflict comes from the expectations of being a Harvard educated white man contrasted with he wants to do. He’s happy with a temp job and taking care of his father by living at home. However, his family just doesn’t understand. He isn’t interested in the American Dream of a wife, 2.5 kids, a house, and a career. The father says he did all those things just because that’s what everyone did. He never even considered other options.

The production is absolutely fantastic. The great acting draws the audience deeply into the story. The ensemble has developed great chemistry which allows them to portray a family expertly. The set perfectly recreates a boys room where they all hang out. Also, the music they use to set up a dance party is great. Steppenwolf has once again proved they are a world class theatre.

A large portion of the audience stayed for the talk back after the performance which shows that this play gets people thinking and wanting to discuss the issues. This is a great sign that they have hit a nerve and the story is very relevant.

Get tickets now for Straight White Men through March 26th!

Quinn Delaney

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