(Chris Jones’s article appeared in the Chicago Tribune, 7/15.)
Chicago — for obvious reasons — long has welcomed and supported contemporary Irish drama. Most of the writers here embraced, through, have been men. But the gripping, authentic new family drama at Steep Theatre, where nobody moved so much as a muscle for two hours on Friday night, is the work of Deirdre Kinahan, a playwright whose name you may not yet know but whose structural chops are as formidable as her empathy for what can happen to an otherwise accomplished professional person when she returns to her mum's house for tea. Kinahan, who runs a theater company in County Meath, is no Irish bad-boy in the Martin McDonagh mode, nor a fevered storyteller like Mark O'Rowe or Conor McPherson. This is a straightforward truthteller who understands how families interact.
Steep is billing Jonathan Berry's production of "Moment," a play that caused something of a critical splash at the Bush Theatre in London in 2011, as the work's American premiere. I did see a report of a student production earlier this year at Smith College, but this is certainly a powerful new play that has not had a New York production, that very few around these parts have seen — and that's an excellent match for the work of a talented Chicago director who has made something of a personal specialty of unraveling family secrets, working in a 60-seat house where there is nowhere for anyone to escape.