"Ask Aunt Susan" (Goodman Theatre): Bockley's Internet Indentity Crisis

To transition from Thanksgiving to December, my family’s tradition is to follow the turkey with a little “Christmas in Connecticut.”  The 1940’s Barbara Stanwyck movie has a successful writer tantalizing the country with her gourmet recipes and picture perfect homelife.  When a war hero needs a holiday treat, the publisher invites him to his staffer’s home.  The soldier gets to dine with America’s favorite housewife.  The magazine gets a heart-tugging story angle. So, what’s her problem?  The writer doesn’t have a husband, baby or house in Connecticut… and she can’t cook.  A writer trapped in her own creation, now that’s entertainment.            

Steve Pickering (Steve) and Justine Turner (Cleo) in Ask Aunt Susan by Seth Bockley, directed by Joanie Schultz.Goodman Theatre presents the final offering in the 2011 New Stages Amplified series, Ask Aunt Susan.  New Stages Amplified provides opportunities for playwrights to mount a play in development.  The learning experience allows the writer to gauge audience’s reaction and craft the piece accordingly.  In Ask Aunt Susan, a former yelper turns advice blogger.  The online counsel is a sidebar on a new website.  The “Ask Aunt Susan” feature explodes into the internet’s version of “Dear Abby.”  The sidebar is now the mainframe. “Ask Aunt Susan” merchandise and groupies canvass the globe.  Everybody loves Aunt Susan!  So, what’s her problem?  She’s a dude!  Ask Aunt Susanexplores building an anonymous empire on the Internet.

Read of the rest of my review at Chicago Theater Beat.

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