Photo Flash: In Rehearsal with the Company of DOWNSTATE at Steppenwolf Theatre Company
Steppenwolf Theatre Company opens its 43rd season with a fiery, provocative new work from Pulitzer Prize-winning ensemble member Bruce Norris, directed by Tony Award winner Pam MacKinnon. Downstate is a co-commission and co-production with The National Theatre of Great Britain. This exciting collaboration will premiere at Steppenwolf in fall 2018 and transfer to the National Theatre in spring 2019 featuring an American and British cast and creative team. Previews begin September 20, 2018, opening is September 30 at 6pmand the production runs through November 11, 2018 in the Upstairs Theatre, 1650 N Halsted St. Single tickets ($20-$99) are now on sale through Audience Services at 312-335-1650 or steppenwolf.org.
Downstate features Steppenwolf ensemble members Glenn Davis (Gio); K. Todd Freeman (Dee); Tim Hopper (Andy); and Francis Guinan (Fred) along with Cecilia Noble (Ivy), Eddie Torres (Felix), Aimee Lou Wood (Effie) and Matilda Ziegler (Em). Elyakeem Avraham, Maura Kidwell and Nate Whelden round out the cast (Cops).
In downstate Illinois, four men convicted of sex crimes against minors share a group home where they live out their lives in the shadow of the crimes they committed. A man shows up to confront his childhood abuser-but does he want closure or retribution? This fiery, provocative new play by Pulitzer Prize-winning ensemble member Bruce Norris zeroes in on the limits of our compassion as it questions what happens when society deems anyone beyond forgiveness.
Known for his darkly comic takes on contemporary issues, Bruce Norris asks to whom we are willing to give compassion. Norris shares, "In the case of this group of people who've committed crimes and served their time, we're not trying to take the easy out and say, 'These are monsters. We're done with them. We can dispose of them.' They are humans, and they are alive. And they're in a bad situation from the mistakes they've made. Now what do we do?'"
Director Pam MacKinnon on what drew her to the production: "I was very taken by the play, I read it and felt vastly for every character. I feel as though it's Bruce project to demand big empathy from the audience. The characters are so specifically drawn it lends itself to very lively, and actually very funny moments."
Artistic Director Anna D. Shapiro comments, "Bruce's contract with the audience never changes: he has always wanted to make us uncomfortable and he has always gone right for the jugular. We support the work because it also continues to be written in the spirit of trying to understand the ugliness of our world so that we have a real chance of changing it."
Director of the National Theatre, Rufus Norris shares, "We are delighted to once again be collaborating with Steppenwolf in co-producing Bruce Norris' compelling, provocative play. It's terrific that both UK and US audiences will get to experience this production, which is in the extraordinary hands of Pam MacKinnon and a brilliant transatlantic cast."
Photo Credit: Joel Moorman
Aimee Lou Wood