Until We Find Each Other, Steppenwolf Theatre Company. I first saw this Brooke Berman play about three Jewish cousins who share a psychic connection in a staged reading at the O’Neill Playwrights Conference. That production was rehearsed for only three days, and Berman has had four months to revise her script, so I expected this Steppenwolf show to easily outdo its predecessor. But this remains a play that needs work–Berman has made few noticeable changes. The piece has gained some clarity thanks to Anna D. Shapiro’s thoughtful staging on Zane Pihlstrom’s useful set, but it’s still hampered by the playwright’s attempts to address too many ideas using one-dimensional characters–she ends up overstating her philosophies on faith, family, and love.
Justin, the homebody aiming for normality, and Miriam, a restless wild child, reconnect when they sense that Sophy is even more troubled than usual: abused as a child, she became a drug-using sex worker, then sought solace in Orthodox Judaism. Louis Cancelmi and McKenna Kerrigan manage to develop Justin and Miriam into more than mere polar opposites, but Sophy is burdened with many speeches to the audience and seems little more than a mouthpiece for the playwright. Rushing through Sophy’s lines, Stephanie Bernstein supplies no real dramatic weight. In the secondary roles, Niki Prugh and Luke Hatton haven’t discovered their characters’ deeper layers and remain mere foils.