Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Glencoe's Favorite Son

Why this should stir me out of my shell, I don't know. But so I get this email announcement:
Poetry Foundation Presents
Archibald MacLeish’s JB
A Staged Reading Produced by Bernard Sahlins

CHICAGO —The Poetry Foundation, publisher of Poetry magazine, is pleased to announce a staged reading of Archibald MacLeish’s JB produced by Bernard Sahlins. This is the fourth production in the Foundation’s Poetry on Stage series and runs from March 4-5.

What: Archibald MacLeish’s JB: A Staged Reading
When: Saturday, March 4, 3:00pm & 7:30pm; Sunday, March 5, 3:00pm
Where: Steppenwolf Upstairs Theatre, 1650 North Halsted Street, Chicago
Tickets: $20.00 adults; $15.00 students & seniors.
For reservations, call Steppenwolf Audience Services. Phone: (312) 335-1650.

JB ambitiously retells the Book of Job, transporting it to a modern circus setting. It renews God’s wager with the Devil, raising the still urgent questions of why a righteous man should suffer and how a God that is good can abide evil.

“We are pleased and excited by the enthusiastic response to the Poetry on Stage series,” said Stephen Young, Program Director of The Poetry Foundation. “These lively productions have helped further the Foundation’s goal to bring the best poetry before an ever-wider audience.”

JB won MacLeish his third Pulitzer Prize when it was staged on Broadway in 1958. MacLeish, a son of Glencoe, Illinois, managed to leverage his versatile talents as a writer into multiple careers: in law, teaching, publishing, diplomacy, and public service as Librarian of Congress. This production stars Poetry on Stage veterans Nicholas Rudall, Greg Vinkler, and Scott Jaeck. Richard Christiansen, former Chief Theater Critic for the Chicago Tribune, will lead audience discussions following the performances.
Well, thank goodness those Poetry Magazine folks are leading the long-overdue MacLeish revival. But a few quibbles about that biography: "a son of Glencoe, Illinois"? Oh dear. If anyone ever leads a biography of me with "a son of Wilmette, Illinois," at least tell them I was born in Evanston, so there's some hope of salvaging my street cred.

And he "managed to leverage his versatile talents..." Ugh. Forget the MFA; I think the poetry degree of the future is the MBA. Leverage those talents! Stage hostile takeovers of Ploughshares!