• Redemption or forever condemned?

    Redemption:  Is redemption possible or are wrongdoers forever condemned?  Chicago’s renowned Steppenwolf Theater Company tackles that issue with “Downstate,” a new play by Pulitzer and Tony Award-winner Bruce Norris premiering in Chicago on Sept. 20 and running through Nov. 11, 2018; the play is already slated for a London production in spring 2019.  Downstate comes to the stage as the U.S. criminal justice system is under increasing scrutiny and questions grow louder about draconian laws for sexual wrongdoing—measures that create scarce benefit to public safety while making a human and constitutional rights nightmare for many.  Over 900,0000 are listed on the sex offense registry.  Some five to six thousand individuals languish in locked facilities because Kafka-esque statutes allow indefinite detention (sex offense civil commitment) when the government has nothing more than a hunch you might do something wrong.  On these matters reason long ago left the room–lawmakers continue to pass harsh, ineffective laws and judges rarely get in their way.  Let’s hope Downstate opens lots of minds!  The Daily Herald has more about the play, have a look.  -Bill Dobbs, The Dobbs Wire info@thedobbswire.com


    Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL) | Sept. 18, 2018

    Steppenwolf’s new drama ‘Downstate’ explores the lives of sex offenders



    By Scott C. Morgan


    Excerpts:  In the play, Guinan plays Fred Nyberg, a paroled sex offender living with three others convicted of crimes against minors. The main drama erupts when a man arrives at their group home, located about 280 miles south of Chicago, to confront his childhood abuser.


    “It’s a Bruce Norris play, so it’s like two and a half hours with people you ordinarily wouldn’t be caught dead with,” Guinan joked. “But the insights you get from that are often more revelatory than from much more easily tolerable characters.”


    It’s a co-production with the National Theatre of Great Britain, so Guinan is looking forward to making his London stage debut when “Downstate” crosses the pond this spring.  MORE:




    Location: Upstairs Theatre at Steppenwolf Theatre Company, 1650 N. Halsted St., Chicago, (312) 335-1650

    Showtimes: 7:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday (also Sunday, Sept. 23, Oct. 7 and 14), 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday (6 p.m. Sept. 30), 2 p.m. Wednesday matinees from Oct. 17-31; through Nov. 11

    Tickets: $20-$99

    More information:



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