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A Note from Martha Lavey

As we began assembling our plays for our 2012/13 season, we found ourselves compelled by an underlying theme uniting this diverse and exciting collection of works. In each of these five plays, there is a moment when the past reveals itself, unbidden but ineluctable in its force. We are calling this moment “the reckoning.” The word shimmers with Biblical meaning: the day of reckoning; with the mathematical record: a settling of accounts; with a narrative trajectory: a summing up. Each of these meanings adds an appropriate weight to the metaphors we use to make sense of our fate. Whether we narrate the story of our life with a religious or secular cast, there is a deeply human impulse to discern a system of justice to explain our fate. Do we get what we deserve? Will our secrets be revealed? Will our deeds be repaid? Will there be a reckoning? We were compelled by these ideas at a cultural moment when the American political discourse seems deeply focused on questions of character and deserving. The field of presidential candidates is being reviewed against their past deeds, their secrets and lies (real or imagined), their wealth (or not) and the legacy of their families. In the pressurized arena of presidential politics and with relentless and ubiquitous news media, digging into the past of every candidate has become a national sport. It produces a sort of narrative of the past as a time-bomb: we await the reckoning. We are thrilled to present these five plays on our 2012/13 season. With them, we offer a Steppenwolf-commissioned world premiere; three new plays each set in the contemporary world but in distinct socio-cultural environments; and a play that has come to be regarded as a classic of the modern English-language canon. The common heartbeat of the plays is a dramatic fascination with the moment when our past comes knocking. These are lives at the moment of reckoning and they test our own sense of justice and sympathy. Do we get what we deserve? -Martha Lavey, Artistic Director