Sunday, August 03, 2014

A Powerful Look at Our Youth Culture

Drama lives. At its best, it offers profound insights into the human condition and our cultural mores. Besides focused writing and reading, few better ways exist to hone the writer's craft than to experience a compelling piece of live theater that merges comedic and tragic elements through deep, believable characters and an unusual yet accessible story line.

This weekend audiences continue to get such an opportunity as previews of Kenneth Lonergan's play This Is Our Youth started on BroadwayI saw this exceptional production with the same cast (Michael CeraKieran Culkin, and Tavi Gevinson) and director (Anna D. Shapiro) at the Steppenwolf Theatre in Chicago on June 25. This production has no kinks to iron out, so I encourage theatergoers to purchase less expensive preview tickets.

A two-hour tragicomedy about aimless New York youth in the 1980s during the Reagan Era, the play premiered Off-Broadway in 1996 at the Intar Theatre and has since been staged in London, Melbourne, and other major cities. Yet 18 years after the first staging and 32 years after the date of play's setting, it remains a painfully relevant story about how the excesses of society have devastating consequences on our communication, aspirations, and relationships.