True West

The Hypocrites - August 2005

Performed at the Chopin Theater, Chicago

By Sam Shepard

“Seldom has it been done by anyone, however, as well as it is by the Hypocrites in this smartly directed, intensely acted production… Too often the brothers are played by performers so out of sync with each other that they don't seem like members of the same species, much less the same family. But with these two, every glance and gesture and word they exchange seethes with a lifetime of unfinished business… The direction, too, is first-rate. Geoff Button avoids the self-indulgent pauses that bloat neophyte productions--the actors strike fast and hard, performing the piece at such a clip you don't have time to think"

– Jack Helbig, Chicago Reader

"The Hypocrites' new production has a smart showman in Button, who has shaped a fast and direct little journey to hell for the play's two frenzied protagonists. In short order, Button cuts to the chase, brings out the dancing girls and then goes directly to the scene where one brother is trying to strangle the other with a telephone cord... That kitchen may be a disaster, but the show is clean as a whistle."

Christopher Piatt, Time Out Chicago

“Highly Recommended. As for the new boys -- and "True West" is all about the relationship between a pair of brothers -- they don't miss a beat. Nor does director Geoff Button, who makes sure his cast hits every crucial beat -- capturing the tense rhythms of the play's menacing dialogue and edgy moves.”

– Hedy Weiss, Chicago Sun Times

"The Hypocrites' stunning revival of True West is a reminder of how powerful a playwright Shepard can be... Geoff Button gets highest marks as director for sustaining the taut line of the script for the entire evening and still allowing the humor to leak through... An engrossing play, superbly staged."

Dan Zeff,   Chicagoland Theater Reviews

"Highly Recommended. This is wrenching drama played with full rage and escalating fury. I've not witnessed such a compelling display of fear, anxiety, despair, and rage in reverse order by two actors on the same stage. this riveting play is 95 minutes of scurrilous drama played to the fullest and paced for maximum impact by two excellent actors at the top of their craft. This is hefty material, excruciatingly delivered."

- Tom Williams, Chicago Critic

“So are they really two guys? Or do they symbolize the American male's ambivalence over his function in modern society? Or is Lee the embodiment of the amoral infant lurking in every superego-dominated adult? Geoff Button directs a contemplative interpretation of Shepard's enigmatic parable, its legendary boys-making-messes spectacle emerging only when the text demands… Chicago playgoers with personal recollections—real or imagined—of that other True West, 23 years ago, are advised to set aside their visceral preconceptions. The Hypocrites' thoughtful exploration of fraternal dynamics needs no nostalgia to bolster its infectious appeal.”

– Mary Shen Barnidge, Windy City Times

  • Directed by Geoff Button
  • Fight Choreographed by Matt Hawkins
  • Scenic Design by Sean Graney
  • Lighting Design by Jared Moore
  • Costume Design by Jennifer Grace
  • Sound Design by Michael Griggs
  • Stage Managed by Ann Marie Lonsdale