Art: June 2010 Archives

Submitted by first-year SoonKyu Park

Ever since I was in high school, I have loved going to theater, often by myself. During the two hours of the show, I could always forget about my life and live someone else's. When I learned that the Steppenwolf Theatre was offering advance tickets to students for $15, I couldn't pass up the opportunity. The theater had three different plays that all had received equally good reviews, and I decided to see Samuel Beckett's Endgame. I had always been a fan of Beckett's, and this production starred William Peterson, who played Gill Grissom in the popular TV crime show C.S.I.

Getting to the Steppenwolf was easy. I took the 55 bus, transferred to a Red Line train, and got off at North/Clybourn. The theater was only five minutes on foot from the station. From door to door, the trip took only 45 minutes--less than I had expected--and so I got to take my seat early and observe the other theater-goers as they came in. Most of the audience was in its fifties or above, but I was also happy to see a few familiar faces from the University.

The production was first-rate, capturing Beckett's nihilistic vision of the world. Consisting of two windows, two trashcans, a sofa, and a door, the minimalist set stuck faithfully to the playwright's directions. The talented ensemble shone. The chemistry between Hamm, the crippled despot, and Clove, the only mobile inhabitant and Hamm's obedient servant, was especially notable. The actors created comedic moments from what could have been absurdly bleak moments, and it is those moments that gave the audience hope that the world we live in is different from that of the play. Lines like "Nothing is funnier than happiness" and "[If he's crying] then he's living" made me laugh because such pessimism was completely unrealistic to me. At some points, the dialogue may have sounded a bit unnatural when the actors sounded as if they were acting instead of talking to one another. But having seen no other productions of the play, I couldn't tell if this was particular to this production or something that Beckett had intended.

Overall, the experience at the Steppenwolf was satisfying and worthwhile. Even if Beckett is not your thing, the theater also offers two other shows. Whether you are a beginner or a veteran as a theater-goer, the Steppenwolf is a great option--and tickets are only $15. Check it out at