Feature

Camino Real

This revival of this unorthodox 1953 Tennessee Williams play marks the U.S. debut of Calixto Bieito.

Goodman Theatre, Chicago
(312) 443-3800

***

Get ready to squirm, said Jeremy Gerard in Bloomberg​.com. This revival of an unorthodox 1953 Tennessee Williams play marks the U.S. debut of Calixto Bieito, a Tarantino-esque Catalan opera director who apparently “hasn’t met the character who wouldn’t look better doused with blood, covered with vomit, or engaged in a sexual act.” But that sensibility makes him the perfect fit for this “bad acid trip of a play,” in which various people, both historical and fictional, pass through a Latin American town that becomes a sort of earthly purgatory. Employing a seedy, neon-bathed set and a revised book by Marc Rosich, Bieito generates visuals—including plenty of sex, shootings, and eviscerations—that are “unforgiving and unforgettable.”

Bieito uses our revulsion for a purpose, said Chris Jones in the Chicago Tribune. This production recognizes that Williams’s play “can function perfectly well as a metaphor for various bankrupt economies, where prostitution and desperation are growing apace.” Bieito is new to Williams’s oeuvre, though, and will surely “do his best American work when he knows America better.” In this outing, we can already see how he lets his actors “use every weapon in their arsenal.” Rosich put Williams himself into the rewrite, and Michael Medeiros is “extraordinary” as the hard-drinking, demon-hounded playwright. As imperfect and discomforting as it may be, “this is still a show serious theater fans will not want to miss.”

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