The American Clock | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

The American Clock 

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Arthur Miller's generous 1979 remembrance of the Depression and its aftermath unashamedly imitates the photo-realism of Clifford Odets. Newsreel-like vignettes capture everything from the great stock market crash to World War II as Miller creates his own living newspaper, rich with the period's resilience and regrets, through a 150-minute, Terkel-like oral history embellished by the time's wonderfully hopeful songs. We get testimony from a Brooklyn family who reluctantly go on the dole, farmers reduced to hobos, angry lefties, and repentant capitalists. Though the 20 performers in Jan Ellen Graves's staging are sometimes stiff, for the most part they bring it home and keep it real. What truly matters here is Miller's fascinating ambivalence about an era that brought out the best in government and the worst in business and delivered an unflinching look at what Americans can do and undo. Through 2/5: Thu-Sat 8 PM, Sun 3 and 7:30 PM. Actors Workshop Theatre, 1044 W. Bryn Mawr, 773-728-7529. $15-$20.

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