“ Strawdog Theatre Company … which is celebrating its 20th season, has a reputation that lured me to its production of Aristocrats, Brian Friel's great 1979 play about a family of Irish Catholics who have sunk from upper-middle-class comfort into desperately shabby gentility. Rarely have my expectations been more satisfyingly surpassed. Strawdog's Aristocrats is one of those revivals so excellent as to leave a critic with nothing much to do but order you to drop everything and go see it at once. ”— The Wall Street Journal
“ The show is full of breathtaking performances … Rick Snyder's astute direction … presents a bittersweet snapshot of a family's damaged yet hopeful dynamic. ”— New City
“ Snyder's precise and fine-spun direction of a Strawdog ensemble once again at the top of its game (Deely's subtle Judith, Avery's tense-jawed Alice and Roberts' loopy and impeccably timed Casimir are particularly satisfying to watch) is clear not just to the eye and ear, but ultimately to the heart. ”— Time Out Chicago
“ Rick Snyder … elicits both fine ensemble work and exquisitely crafted individual performances. ”— Chicago Sun-Times
Steppenwolf ensemble member Rick Snyder (director of their recent hit production of Harold Pinter's Betrayal) kicks off Strawdog's 20th Season directing our award-winning acting ensemble in Brian Friel's story of an Irish family living in the shadow of a past that's too glorious to be true, and wrestling with a present too treacherous to navigate. By turns hilarious and heart-breaking, this is the first part of Strawdog's exploration of the theme of dynasty, and it is not to be missed.
In County Donegal in the mid 1970s, the O'Donnell family, a rare example of Irish-Catholic aristocracy, gathers at their family estate on the eve of the clan's youngest daughter's wedding. Haunted by memories and secrets, and pressed by an American academic intent on finding the family's true history, the long-estranged siblings alternately deny and face up to the collapse of their homestead and their personal lives as well.
Brian Friel is one of Ireland's most acclaimed playwrights, with a body of work that includes Dancing at Lughnasa and Faith Healer. Patterned after Chekhov's greatest plays, Aristocrats, is one of if his finest.