Review “Another Marriage” (Steppenwolf Theatre): A Marriage of Humor and Humanity

Wednesday, July 5, 2023 Permalink 0

Steppenwolf Theatre presents ANOTHER MARRIAGE. 

It’s all about the story! Two students bond over their literary interests and writing aspirations. Their mutual attraction: words… on the page or through intellectual sparring. A couple’s relationship is deconstructed from the end to the beginning to the in-between. Their love is entangled in the reality of their past, present and future. And the ties that bond them also separate them.     

ANOTHER MARRIAGE is Ensemble Member Kate Arrington’s playwriting debut. The show starts with the projected words ‘The End.’ Arrington introduces Sunny (played by Judy Greer) and Nick (played by Ian Barford) reading on a bench. Through their conversation, their intimacy is obvious. The conversation has a familiar banter vibe. Although they do discuss their daughter, Nick offers to walk Sunny to ‘her place.’ In this first scene, it’s quietly revealed the couple is no longer living together.   

Instead of chronological order, Arrington’s storytelling is more zig-zag. She has the daughter (played by Nicole Scimeca) dissect her parents’ marriage. In the first act, Scimeca serves as a primarily silent narrator. Jo circles the stage with a tablet. Her typing ‘five years later’ or ‘a little earlier’ is projected on a screen to support the relationship timeline. In the second act, Scimeca becomes more visible onstage sharing information about her grandparents’ marriage. In the moment, it seems oddly out-of-place. Later, it becomes more apparent how ‘another marriage’ has influenced Jo’s life. Arrington’s injection of varied story nuggets is both engaging and confusing. And without a sequential order, they can get jumbled up.    

Director Terry Kinney showcases Steppenwolf’s newest stage. Kinney, working along with Scenic Designer Robert Brill, raises, lowers, and spins actors and furniture on a movable center platform. They even simulate an apartment being on the second floor with the addition of a staircase rising from a lower level. Although the look is cool, the transitions seem superfluous. Audience members respond to these blackouts with sporadic clapping. Between these nonessential scene changes and the nonlinear narrative, the storytelling can become distracting and choppy.  

I did enjoy ANOTHER MARRIAGE especially for the comedic elements. Arrington’s sharp dialogue is riddled with humor. Between Greer’s deadpan delivery and a hilariously obtuse Caroline Neff (Macassidy), ANOTHER MARRIAGE delivers plenty of laughs.  And between Greer and Barford, ANOTHER MARRIAGE displays true humanity in lovingly uncoupling.  

Running Time: Two hours and fifteen minutes includes an intermission

At the Steppenwolf Theatre, 1646 N. Halsted

Written by Kate Arrington

Directed by Terry Kinney 

Performances are:

Tuesdays thru Saturdays at 7:30pm   

Saturdays and Sundays at 2:30pm

EXTENDED Thru July 30th 

For more information or tickets

Production photos by Michael Brosilow 

For more Chicago theatre information and reviews, please visit Theatre in Chicago

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