And so like every other self-respecting theater fanatic, my theatergoing buddy Bill and I pounced on tickets the moment we could. I'm happy that we did. Although not as happy as I thought I would be.
Man from Nebraska, a Pulitzer Prize finalist first produced by Chicago's Steppenwolf Theatre Company back in 2003, starts off as a story about a crisis of faith when a devout churchgoer named Ken discovers that he no longer believes in God.
Ken's pastor suggests that a break from the routines of his daily life may give him the time and space he needs to restore his faith. And so Ken sets off to, of all places, London.
Once there, he engages in a variety of behaviors he's never tried before, from drinking and casual sex to taking up with the black bartender at his hotel (he's never known anyone black before he tells her) and her flatmate a sculptor who introduces Ken to the power of art.
Or maybe Letts intended Ken's journey to be an update on the classic Everyman pilgrimage. Whichever, the quest for God turns out to be a McGuffin and what we get instead is yet another story about a middle-class, middle-aged white guy going through a midlife crisis.
I've seen O'Toole in three different shows over the past year and she so thoroughly transforms herself into each character she's playing that I hardly recognize her from one to the next, except that I'm always blown away by her performance.