Steppenwolf, You Got Older: When Love & Fear Meet You At Home

ygo-3Everyone as a child imagines themselves as being successful when they grow up. Having a life which includes a prodigious career, a great relationship and a beautiful place to live; but what happens when what you desire is never manifested. Nothing seems too panned out, and you are stuck between here and now waiting for a fresh start so that you can start your life over again.

"You Got Older," Playwright Clare Barron, tells the story through the eyes of Mae, a young woman whose life is in turmoil and despair; and is also contemplating the fears of getting older. She got fired from her job, her boyfriend dumped her, and she moved back to Seattle to care for her ailing father who has cancer. She also has a weird fantasy of a cowboy that invades her thoughts with sexual innuendos and to add to her misery she has a mysterious rash on her back.

With all of the calamities that have taken place, Mae is pushed to the edge and is in desperate need of a do-over. Unfortunately, the do-over is on hold and while she has to go to cancer treatments with her father; Mae realizes that "this is your life" is not just a television show, but her reality.

The original premiere of "You Got Older" on February 5, 2018, was canceled because of the death of ensemble member John Mahoney who recently lost his battle with cancer. (Click on the link below to read our passionate goodbye to a legend)

ygo-1-1This dark comedy is a mixture of fantasy and reality and a failure to launch into the real world of adulthood. Mae (Caroline Neff) while staying in her sister old bedroom to be closer to her dad is reminded of how difficult growing up can be; especially when you are incapable of dealing with a family member illness and doing it alone. Mae tries to connect with her father (Francis Guinan), but throughout the play, there's a big disconnect that continues to grow between the both of them.

To escape from being with her father and dealing with her daily struggles, Mae decides to go to a bar and run into Mac (Glenn Davis) a nerdy guy from her past who is infatuated with her, rash and all, and how he can make it better. The two of them are oddly drawn to one another strange desires, and they later meet at Mae's house where she sneaks Mac into her bedroom in hopes of taking him up on his offer.        

Mae is a lost soul, still searching for her life, finds contentment in her reoccurring dreams of a cowboy played by (Gabriel Ruiz ) which seems to satisfy her sexually, relieving her from her penned up frustrations of getting older and maturing.

This strange but entertaining part of the play added some comedic relief however it seems to have pulled at too many strings of emotions and made it hard to reconnect Mae back to the awkward yet passionate feelings she had for her dying father. We all can relate to the joys of fantasy when life is at its worse, but we would have liked a little less cowboy and more of the challenging but realistic journey of father and daughter dealing with how to say goodbye. 


"You Got Older" is a frank and honest look into the complications that occur within families, particularly when someone you love, that has taken care of you since childhood has a terminal illness. The unspoken love between Mae and her father was touching, and the song played while they were both sitting at the table was so warm and loving that it caused several tears to fall from those within the audience.  

Playwright Clare Barron, a Yale graduate who fell in love with the theater as a teen tells a cute story about why she got into theater. "I get to slap someone? Like, that's so cool! I get to spit in someone's face? That's like even cooler!"

Although her first love of acting quickly turned into being a writer, Clare wrote "You Got Older" on her experience with her father diagnosed with cancer.  This play which closely related to "Baby Screams Miracle," also explores questions of fate, faith, and family; which Clare honestly stated she finds herself battles with the ins and out of growing up as a Christian.

The conclusion is emotional, but the ending is a little bizarre and somewhat perplexing; however, there are moments where you look for baseball caps too, so no one will see you reminisce and cry.    

We somewhat recommend "You Got Older;" however, some racy scenes will make some of us that are older a little uncomfortable.

Cast Includes:

Glenn Davis (Mac)

Audrey Francis (Hannah)

Francis Guinan (Dad)

Caroline Neff (Mae)

Emjoy Gavino (Jenny)

David Lind (Matthew)

Gabriel Ruiz (Cowboy)


A Chicago Premiere of the Obie Award-winning play

You Got Older

By Clare Barron

Directed by Jonathan Berry

January 25 - March 11, 2018


Filed under: ChicagoNow

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