Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Why People Should Talk About Sarah Ruhl

When people ask me why bloggers and critics want to talk about Sarah Ruhl so much, I should just point them to this statement from Chris Jones at the Chicago Tribune. (Emphasis mine.)

Ruhl is a playwright who tends to sharply divide critics and audiences — she is a writer who invariably starts us out on a strange but manageable little journey and then completely jumps the rails somewhere early in the second act (if you saw "The Clean House," you'll know whereof I speak). To appreciate her work, you usually have to take two consecutive leaps of faith in wholly different directions.

This division has been sharpened by Ruhl's amazing ubiquity. No living playwright gets done more in Chicago — the Goodman Theatre produced "The Clean House" and "Passion Play" in quick succession, Steppenwolf is doing "Dead Man's" and the Victory Gardens' "Eurydice" next season. Wherever you subscribe, you can't avoid Ruhl. So you'd better at least form an

This is in his review for Dead Man's Cell Phone at Steppenwolf. Speaking of which, Kris Vire at Storefront Rebellion is amused at how creative Steppenwolf has been with the pull quotes.

For instance Vire's Timeout Chicago Review starts this way:

This is the Sarah Ruhl work that has finally made us ask, What will it take for the American theater to realize the playwright has no clothes? To be fair, Cell Phone is not as infuriating as, say, Ruhl’s Passion Play was at the Goodman last fall. But neither is Cell Phone trying so hard to have something to say. This play, in fact, doesn’t seem to be trying very hard to do anything at all.

It is an extremeley negative review, but go read the whole thing and play a little game: Try to find where Steppenwolf pulled "Quirky!" for their ads.


Anonymous said...

Second paragraph, first sentence: "Incessantly quirky Ruhl ..." But it's Ruhl herself and not the play. Which for all I know might be incessantly quirky too.

Art said...

You Win Anon! :)

Art said...

You Win Anon! :)