On a recent trip to Chicago, I had the opportunity to catch a show at The Steppenwolf Theatre Company. For those of you that may not be familiar with Steppenwolf, they were founded in the mid-1970s by Jeff Perry, Terry Kinney, and Gary Sinise. The Company has been recognized many times over through the years and have become an icon in the theatre world.
While researching things to do in the Chicago area, I was directed to Steppenwolf’s events calendar. There in the Featured Productions section I saw The Doppelgänger (An International Farce). Since its run coincided with the dates I was planning on being in the Chicago area I decided to investigate a little more.
After visiting the production information page, I was surprised to learn that none other than Rainn Wilson would be in the titular role. Me being a big fan of The Office, I jumped at the opportunity before me.
Not knowing anything about what the show was about or the playwright, Matthew-Lee Erlbach, I must say I was blown away by the entire experience. From the hospitality of the staff to the production itself, I cannot say enough about my time at Steppenwolf.
After a short walk from the Red Line station at North and Clyburn, I arrived at Steppenwolf, picked up tickets at Will Call and knew I had time to kill. Google Maps recommended a few places nearby but not wanting to venture very far I opted for Front Bar. Which, unbeknownst to me at the time, is actually a part of Steppenwolf. The atmosphere at Front Bar was excellent; an inviting bar, comfortable seating and plenty of friendly staff.
Walking into the theatre, it was smaller than you might think, intimate even. Although my seat was in the second row, there were no bad seats in the house. Finally, settled in it was time for curtains up.
The production itself was magnificent; a brutally honest look at the duality of life with a delightful balance of absurdity to round out the farce. It is terribly cliché but the performance of the cast is sublime. Wilson, himself is brilliant but it’s the performance of Steppenwolf ensemble member Celeste M. Cooper that blows you away. The show’s sobering finale seems to come out of no where but seems inevitable at the same time. I do not want to give too much away so I will leave it at that.
The Doppelgänger (An International Farce) runs through June 2. Go see it if you are in the area or if you are reading this article after the show closes check out Steppenwolf’s calendar and go see a show. I honestly cannot hurl enough superlatives at The Steppenwolf Theatre Company to do them justice. Let them do it for me.