(Chris Jones’s article appeared in the Chicago Tribune, 10/20.)

Noah Haidle, the overachieving young playwright formerly known for hyperintellectual insouciance, went through some personal stuff over the past year or two, resulting in his mother flying in, scooping him up from his urban East Coast milieu and bringing him home to the coop in Grand Rapids, Mich.

His mother, I'm sure, was interested in the health of her son. But she did American theater a great favor at the same time. For there in Grand Rapids, Haidle spent time recovering in his childhood home — always complex when you're an adult and find yourself staring at the same cracks in the ceiling as you did when you were 10 years old. And there in Grand Rapids, perhaps within the sound of the church bells of Grace Episcopal Church, Haidle set about penning "Smokefall," the fragile, haunting, not-to-be-missed new family drama at the Goodman Theatre — one of those rare new plays that manages both to be unstinting in its depiction of pain and dislocation yet also suffused with the hope that flows from healing and familial love.


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