This post is from a couple of weeks ago, but between the uprising and Egypt and an extensive backlog of Judge Judy episodes, I’ve been a little distracted. Lakeboat is running through February 26th.
Last night I attended a performance of the play Lakeboat at the Steep Theatre on Chicago’s north side. As part of my pledge to watch anything, I will catch the occasional play. Lakeboat is an early Mamet play, set amongst a bunch of foul-mouthed sailors floating on a barge somewhere on Lake Michigan. The cast does a great job of bringing Mamet’s malcontent to life in all their drunken and insecure glory.
Steep is my kind of theater, where the audience is seated on top of the actors. The play is comprised of a series of vignettes and short scenes, often between just two characters. C.J. Cederquist’s direction stages these scenes with enough variety and intelligence to keep things from getting repetitive. The plot follows a college kid who boards the boat and the new night cook. The details of the old night cook’s demise are hardly confirmed, but it’s safe to say nothing good happened to him. While there’s not much action, Mamet’s script is a masterclass (it was written for his students at Marlboro College) in tough, oil-smeared guys baring their souls. Misogyny and hopelessness run deep.
The performance I attended had a great “only in theater” moment where a woman in the front row gasped in shock and horror. She within spitting distance of the actor who set up that cruel punchline, and it felt like a true moment.