(Chris Jones’s article appeared 5/5 in the Chicago Tribune.)
Just a few minutes into “Festen,” the riveting new show at the Steep Theatre Company, a nervous man attending his successful father's 60th birthday dinner reveals that he has written two different speeches for this auspicious occasion, each in envelopes of different colors. This is already an emotionally fraught occasion, at least one member of the celebrating family is not present. She has been found dead in the bathtub.
The man, a restaurateur, fingers the two envelopes. We sense that the speeches must be very different. The father picks the color. He picks the one with the truth. Or does he? Maybe it's just his son's version of the truth. Either way, everything changes. And over the following hour or a little more, you won't see a muscle move among the audience at the Steep Theatre.