drsh99 | Chicago Reader

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Re: “A True History of the Johnstown Flood

I so *wanted* to like this play. Sets were beautiful, and scattered scenes showed the plot had potential. But...the extended plays within the play, with their overly broad slapstick were much too long and loud, 'drowning' out the themes of class strife and (un)natural disaster. I think it can be fixed, though, by compressing all and/or eliminating one of the Baxter plays, tone down the slapstick and make the Walter Lippincott character less of a Snidely Whiplash-give him some depth. And that goes for Fanny, too. Generally, all the characters are caricatures.

For the plot, the flood should have mixed everyone up, not just the lower classes, even though their death toll and continued suffering deserve center stage. This would have linked to and reflected Katrina in a way that could engage the audience. Sadly, the uncomfortable slapstick seemed to engage Friday's preview audience, but little else.
Not the best, but not the worst I've seen at Goodman in the last couple of years.

Posted by drsh99 on 03/20/2010 at 10:07 AM

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