After seeing LATE: A Cowboy Song, an early Sarah Ruhl piece put up by the Piven Theatre Workshop, I had to clarify the job of a theatre critic for myself. Do I factor in the context of a play in reference to a playwright's oeuvre? Or do I judge a production solely based on what I see at that time and in that room? Because as significant as Ruhl is to the stage (her list of recognitions and awards would make an Eagle Scout envious), I have never seen one of her plays. I have never seen In the Next Room (the vibrator play) or The Clean House or Dead Man's Cell Phone (which premiered at Steppenwolf in 2008 -- our review ★★★). So it's impossible for me to look at LATE through the lens of a Ruhl expert, appreciating the piece as an early, unpolished gem from a writer who would later consistently churn out financially-successful diamonds.
THEATER: Late: A Cowboy Song (Piven Theatre Workshop)