(Chris Jones’s article appeared in the Chicago Tribune, 10/8)
Drive past a funeral home in Chicago, and you often catch a glimpse of them: big, middle-aged men uncomfortable with grief.
They tend to cluster on the sidewalks, poured into ill-fitting suits, thick necks confined by collars and ties, cigarette smoke clouded above their heads. If you're driving by, or you turn your head as you sit on your bus on Western Avenue or maybe Belmont Avenue, you have a brief vista of this very male way of mourning — the isolation, the discomfort, the innate inability to remain still. These men pace on their rude little patch of sidewalk, trying to process how to grieve. Meanwhile, the city carries on without them, unaffected.
Such a man, whose name is Edward Carr, makes up the entire cast of characters of Neil LaBute's "Wrecks," an 80-minute monologue that makes you feel as if LaBute has written an entirely uncharacteristic play — something more in tune with the Irish writer Conor McPherson — until you eventually discover you've been in LaBute's wheelhouse all along. It just took awhile for the guts to spill. To say the how and why would ruin everything. Fear not.