REVIEWSREVIEWS BYTheatre ReviewsTom Williams


By Greg Piercesteppenwolf theatre

Directed by Randall Arney

At Steppenwolf  Theatre, Chicago

Striking difference in characteristics allows each person to face their past.

Subtly powerful two-hander, Slowgirl, by Greg Pierce, is a  suspenseful character sketch about two opposites: a man and a girl;  an older and a teen; a gregarious and a recluse; a talker and a silent. William Petersen plays Sterling, a lost -soul hiding from the demons of his past in the tranquil jungles of Costa Rica where he spends his time reading and walking his maze in search of inner peace. His slow-paced world is shaken by the arrival  of his nice Becky (Rae Gray)  who is running from or awaiting or avoiding the repercussions from  teenage party prank gone horribly wrong.

steppenwolf theatre

Rae Gray, in a terrific performance, plays the impulsive frank-speaking seventeen year old Becky as an  motor-mounted girl. Her commanding stage presence fuels the suspenseful drama while Petersen’s take on Sterling is quite a passive fellow who lets Gray dominate.

steppenwolf theatreDuring her one week stay in the Central American jungle, Becky first challenges then bonds with her recluse uncle. These two opposites mirror their different places, their different personalities, and their different reaction to their past decisions. As the details of their past slowly are revealed, we see Becky’s fear and guilt and Sterling’s need to be need emerge. Playwright Greg Pierce has written a smart, intelligent character sketch filled with two damaged souls struggling to face up to and own their pasts.

steppenwolf theatre

Over the 90 minute one act played out in one week , the unique bond formed by a precocious teen and her middle aged uncle reaches into their souls as each face their realities allowing them to get on with their lives. William Petersen nicely lets Rae Gray command the stage as he patiently waits for her to get her daemons out before reacting. Gray effectively draws out the hidden memories form her uncle. These two play off one another exquisitely in a series of subtly powerful scenes with some dark humor throw in.  As in life, many of us have guilt, regret and even shame from acts we have done in the past. How we react to our past and how we chose to either move on or continue to be trapped by those questionable past actions is dramatized most effectively by Petersen and Gray. You’d be hard pressed to see a fined acted two-hander than Slowgirl.


Tom Williams

Talk Theatre in Chicago podcast

Date Reviewed: July 27, 2013

Jeff Recommended

For more info checkout the Slowgirl page at

At Steppenwolf  Theatre, 1650 N. Halsted, Chicago, Il,, tickets$20 -$78, Wednesdays thur Saturdays at 7:30 pm, Saturdays & Sundays matinees at 3 pm, running time is 90 minutes without intermission, through August 25, 2013

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