Friday April 22, 2011 / 7:30pmThe Hot L Baltimore
Assigned at Box Office
How was your experience?
Although Wilson's script called for all the action to take place in the hotel lobby, Steppenwolf has a very large stage and took full advantage of it by showing us the second and third floors of the hotel. The second floor rooms were functional performing areas in which the actors carrying on the through-line of their actions when they were not in the lobby. The Man (or ghost) was added to this production by the director of the play after it had already been cast. Unfortunately, Wilson was terminally ill during the rehearsal period and died on the day the first audience appeared at Steppenwolf, so he was never able to comment about the changes to the set and cast that were added. Having met him, however, I think he would have approved highly of this production. The costumes were well designed and constructed, taking the audience back to the 1970s. The Man's costume was not that of the 1970s but closer to the 1930s, the heyday of the Hotel Baltimore. The actor's singing was enchanting and took full advantage of his beautiful voice. The play was not intended to have the closure television shows have led us to expect but to present a slice of life; we were given some information about the events leading up to that day and some hints about what might be coming. The play does not end with all the hotel residents moving out, but with their knowing that they will have to move eventually. To those who thought the show was cut, it was not; it was not abridged in the way that Shakespeare's plays usually are. What you see is what he wrote.