The Lucky Ones

Jenny Magnus’s artistry has grown increasingly simple in the last few years. Like other Curious Theatre Branch writers and performers, she’s been stripping her work down to the basics–but never in the same way twice. Her 1998 The Strange was a quiet, enigmatic drama about a woman who stumbles drunk into the bedroom of a young girl, where they face their demons over the course of three inexplicable late-night meetings. That moody, naturalistic piece gave way later in 1998 to The Nowhow (and How to Now It), a cartoonish solo performance made up mostly of silly noises and goofy gestures. And for last year’s Rhinoceros Theater Festival, Magnus took yet another stylistic turn and produced The Lucky Ones, a rigorously abstracted Beckettian meditation on death and impermanence. Of all her plays, this one may be the most accessible, not just because its subject is universal but because Magnus adheres to a traditional one-act structure. But the play’s conventionality doesn’t reduce its mystery: two formally attired nameless men of disparate ages meet in an unspecified location and help each other through a protracted farewell. It’s a simple encounter with profound repercussions, the kind that Magnus creates with increasing ease. Steppenwolf Theatre Company, garage, 1626 N. Halsted, 312-335-1650. Opens Sunday, January 16, 5 PM. Through February 6: Sundays, 5 PM. $10.

–Justin Hayford

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Chris Dimmick.