Chicago, Wednesday, May 4, 2011. The times they are a changing but in many ways remain the same. Although life was very different in George Bernard Shaw’s “Heartbreak House”–a 1919 piece first presented after World War I–than today, human nature remains intact. Shaw–the master of wit and social thought–bitingly
chronicles the demise of the leisure class in his favorite play,”
Shaw’s story which manages to put together a microcosm of class from the
upper-class to the working poor finds a contemporary niche under the
magnificent direction of William Brown marking his third
production of Shaw’s work for Writer’s Theatre, in addition to directing the world
premiere of Brett Neveu’s “Do The Hustle”, “Old Glory”, “As
You Like It”, “Another Part of the Forest”, “Arms and the Man”, “Our
Town”, “Rocket to the Moon”, “Misalliance”, “The Glass Menagerie” and
Arthur Miller’s “Incident at Vichy”–all at Writer’s.
“Heartbreak House” is set in the English countryside on the estate of Captain Shotover, brilliantly portrayed by John Reeger as the former Navy man who lives on the estate with his daughter Hesione Hushabye, the always outstanding, Karen James Woditsch, who recently was Julia Child in TimeLine Theatre’s “To Master the Art”, and her playboy husband Hector (Martin Yurek).
extraordinary assemblage of guests gather to reunite. Ellie Dunn (Atra Asdou), cast as an Anglo-Indian young lady, comes to the country house for dinner. She is engaged to Boss Mangan (John Lister), a man she does not love but feels obligated to marry because he has helped her father, Mazzini Dunn, smartly portrayed by Kareem Bandealy. Affairs begin,
engagements end and hearts and minds become irreparably ensnared in a
young woman’s dilemma–whether to marry for love or for money.
Brown has changed the original time of the play following World War I to the outbreak of World War II in 1940–making the story more relevant to today. The set design by Keith Pitts’ features an eye-catching garden complete with wicker furnishings of the day. Rachel Anne Healy’s costumes are spectacular as is the music by Andrew Hansen.
The flawlessly written story by Shaw, the only person to have been awarded both a Nobel Prize for Literature (1925) and an Oscar (1938) for his work on the film Pygmalion, is a must see for Shaw fans.
Writers’ Theatre, 325 Tudor Court, Glencoe, IL.
are $45 to $65 and can be purchased in person at the box office at
376 Park Avenue, Glencoe; by phone at 847-242-6000; or online www.writerstheatre.org. Heartbreak House runs through June 26, 2011.
2 hours and 55 minutes, including 2 ten-minute intermissions.
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