Tracy Letts Stars in Bruce Norris' Latest, The Pain and the Itch, at Steppenwolf

News   Tracy Letts Stars in Bruce Norris' Latest, The Pain and the Itch, at Steppenwolf Tracy Letts, the playwright and actor who was recently seen playing Kenneth Tynan in Orson's Shadow Off-Broadway, will star in The Pain and the Itch, the new Bruce Norris play that will have its world premiere at the Steppenwolf Theatre Company June 30.
Tracy Letts
Tracy Letts Photo by Aubrey Reuben

Mariann Mayberry, Lillian Almaguer, Kate Arrington, Darragh Quinn Dolan, Jayne Houdyshell (Well), James Vincent Meredith and Zak Orth (Misalliance) also star. Anna D. Shapiro directs. Pain is described as a "dark, dark comedy that challenges the safety and comfort of American life." It takes place in the home of Clay and Kelly, an upper-middle-class couple in Chicago who find that some unknown creature has invaded their home and is eating the avocados in the kitchen.

The plot description somewhat echoes that of Letts' Bug, in which a Gulf War vet and his female companion hole up in a motel room and furiously battle an infestation of bugs that no one else can see. Letts and Norris actually have a lot in common. Both began as actors and both now devote most of their energies to writing plays. Norris—who had a thriving career on and Off-Broadway in the 1990s (Wrong Mountain, Plunge, Marco Polo Sings a Solo, Chaucer in Rome, La Terrasse)—recently told Playbill.com that he hadn't appeared on a stage in five years.

Norris' other works produced at Steppenwolf include The Infidel, Purple Heart and We All Went Down to Amsterdam.