“Mary Page Marlow” by Tracy Letts - Steppenwolf Theater

 The six Mary Todd Marlowe actresses

The six Mary Todd Marlowe actresses

Tracy Letts is a remarkable playwright – and a remarkable actor.  I’ve not seen all of his plays, but “Killer Joe” and “August Osage County” are memorable.  And his turn on “Homeland” as the nefarious Senator turned CIA Director Lockhart was evil fun.
 
So where did this loving, tender story of an unremarkable woman come from?  It’s told in 90 minutes of vignettes from the life of MPM.  Played by six actresses, with no attempt at physical cohesion, and a large supporting cast, you see MPM from birth through life-accepting senior. What you experience is a woman who grows and learns and makes poor choices, pays the price and moves on.  You want more.  You want a cherry on the top, or a large reveal – and there is none.  

The Chicago Tribune reviewer, Chris Jones, gave it four stars.  And one of his reasons is that the six actresses each have the opportunity to hit it out of the park in their turn on stage – and he’s correct, they do.  But, I was left wanting more.  That’s not a bad thing, and usually indicates that the playwright is crafting a good tale, but it left me undernourished.  

Score:  Toad