Monday, June 18, 2012

Superior Donuts - ON STAGE!!

The Monday Nut

As a both and actor and Donut hunter, for me, nothing could be better than combining the two. Coupled with donuts and coffee at the snack bar and you have an evening that is sure to be a hit.

Superior Donuts is a play by American playwright Tracy Letts. Its world premiere was staged by the Steppenwolf Theatre Company in Chicago in 2008, and it premiered on Broadway in 2009. The play focuses on the relationship between despondent Arthur Przybyszewski, a former 1960s radical who owns a rundown donut shop in Uptown, Chicago, and Franco, his energetic but troubled young African American assistant who wants to update the establishment with lively music and healthy menu options. Dialogue scenes are separated by soliloquys in which Arthur discusses his past and reminisces about the city as it was in his younger years.

Will LeBow, Omar Robinson. Photo by Mark S. Howard

The captivating aspect of Superior donuts, which was partly due to the timing of our recent economic struggles and the The Lyric Stage Company's choice to present the piece in early spring, was the accuracy in which the dialogue and the characters depict all that the American dream was and all that we dreamed it could be. Once a great nation, we have tripped and fallen, but we can rise again; like a donut. Superior Donuts send just that message and does so through the hole in the donut. The audience feels like they have a seat at the counter, can feel the grittiness, the joy, and the pain that unfolds

As James Foritano's review from Arts Scope says: "What kept the plot of Lyric Stage’s presentation of “Superior Donuts” dancing for me was the sharply but subtly delineated asymmetry of the characters, all wrestling with the “American Dream” but at different and differently slippery stages of the contest. “Superior Donuts” was, for me, the national ‘conversation’ our pundits and politicians keep promising but never broaching, although I didn’t realize that dimension, fully, until long out onto the cold streets of Boston. I left the Lyric Stage full of the atmosphere and strivings of uptown Chicago, of typical Chicagoans whose orbits intersect profoundly, wittily and sometimes unsettlingly with our own neighborhoods and selves." If you have the opportunity to catch a local performance this Donut hunter strongly suggests you do so.