Historical Drama: Describe the Night at Steppenwolf Theatre(Through April 9, 2023)

It’s 1920 and Isaac Babel is writing in his journal about the Polish-Soviet War. Jump forward 90 years and this journal is given to a young man after a mysterious plane crash. It’s a play that blends historical drama, political satire, surrealistic fantasy, and meta-theatrical experimentation.

Rajiv Joseph (King James, Guards at the Taj ) has written a thriller that is on the longer side at 2 hours and 45 minutes. It’s an exploration of truth verse fiction. It is comprised of some great scenes and moments, but they don’t add up very cohesively in this production.

In the ensemble theatre, the set design is forced to be simple. No elaborate backdrop can be created for a theatre in the round which makes it harder to set the scene. Another issue is at all times, the actor will be facing directly away from some of the audience. If they are doing something directly in front of them, it will be missed. Also, many of the seats do not face towards the middle and you will be forced to sit sideways in your seat. This is especially true of the seats in the front towards the end.

Photos by Michael Brosilow

Despite the issues mentioned, the cast gives great performances. Glenn Davis (King James, The Christians) is excellent as the KGB agent. James Vincent Meredith (The Minutes) is stellar as Isaac Babel, a Jewish writer journaling about the war. Yasen Peyankov (Lindiwe ) is haunting as the Russian soldier.  Sally Murphy (The Minutes, Linda Vista) is splendid as the wife of the Russian soldier. Caroline Neff (You Got Older, Linda Vista) is great as the reporter trying to escape the country. Jack Cain and Charence Higgins are solid in their Steppenwolf debuts.  

Cost of a ticket: $68

PlaylistHQ Economic Rating: Half Price +

Rating Scale: Exceptional Value > Worth It > Half Price > Go for Free > Don’t Bother

Get tickets now for Describe the Night through April 9th!

Quinn Delaney


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s