Goodnight Children Everywhere | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

Goodnight Children Everywhere 

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GOODNIGHT CHILDREN EVERYWHERE, Organic Theater Company. Set in 1945, Richard Nelson's play tells the story of three sisters living in a London flat whose lives are disrupted when their 17-year-old brother returns home. Vi is an ambitious but unsuccessful actress, Betty is an old maid in training, and Ann is a depressed, neglected, pregnant housewife. Peter, who was sent to Canada for the duration of the war, proves a mobilizing influence. Now that their parents are dead and the four siblings are reunited, they're free to run around half dressed all the time and even to indulge in some heavy-duty incest.

Nelson's play should be about a family of children trying to cobble together some modicum of ethical maturity in a world blown to bits. But under Ina Marlowe's noncommittal direction, Goodnight Children Everywhere is about nothing in particular. Every scene proceeds at roughly the same unenthusiastic pace, turning dialogue into superfluous noise. And despite the obvious gifts of the seven-member cast--spearheaded by Chloe Johnston, one of the city's brightest young talents--the actors' characters form no meaningful relationships and thus generate little drama. And given the play's slice-of-life feel, those relationships are about the only things that might give the play a sense of urgency.

--Justin Hayford


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