Even those of us who consider ourselves fortunate to have seen Gary Sinise and John Malkovich perform this Sam Shepard magnum opus at Chicago's Steppenwolf Theatre in the '80s have to remember that the play's storied history also includes productions in San Francisco and New York that featured actors such as Peter Coyote, Tommy Lee Jones, the late Peter Boyle, Gary Cole, Dennis Quaid, Randy Quaid, Philip Seymour Hoffman and John C. Reilly. That's a wide range of acting talent and speaks volumes about the malleability of the modern master's words. Without question, this is prime Shepard real estate, and it may be his work that most often gets the word "genius" thrown at it--or draped over it. But aside from all the critical deconstruction of Shepard's mythologizing on the American dream, True West, if performed with irony and a committed edge, is simply an unsettlingly good character drama, pitting brother versus brother--one a successful screenwriter, the other a petty thief. People's Branch Theatre begins its fall season with a hoped-for big bang, with Ross Brooks directing a cast featuring Eric D. Pasto-Crosby and Chuck Long as the warring siblings.
Wednesdays-Saturdays, 7:30 p.m. Starts: Sept. 18. Continues through Sept. 27, 2008