In downstate Illinois, four men convicted of sex crimes against minors share a group home where they live out their lives in the shadow of the crimes they committed. A man shows up to confront his childhood abuser—but does he want closure or retribution? This fiery, provocative new play by Pulitzer Prize-winning ensemble member Bruce Norris zeroes in on the limits of our compassion as it questions what happens when society deems anyone beyond forgiveness.
Known for his darkly comic takes on contemporary issues, Bruce Norris asks to whom we are willing to give compassion: “In the case of this group of people who’ve committed crimes and served their time, we’re not trying to take the easy out and say, ‘These are monsters. We’re done with them. We can dispose of them.’ They are humans, and they are alive. And they’re in a bad situation from the mistakes they’ve made. Now what do we do?’ ”
Downstate is a co-commission and co-production with the National Theatre of Great Britain. This exciting collaboration will premiere at Steppenwolf in fall 2018 and transfer to the National Theatre in spring 2019. Under the direction of Tony Award winner Pam MacKinnon, Downstate will feature an American and British cast and creative team.