A sad romantic comedy sounds like a contradiction in terms, but it’s an apt-enough description of “Linda Vista,” a slight but funny and quietly affecting play from Tracy Letts, which has opened on Broadway at the Helen Hayes Theater in a superbly acted co-production from Second Stage and Chicago’s Steppenwolf.
The protagonist — he’s hardly a hero, or even an anti-hero — is Wheeler, played with mordant glumness by the longtime Steppenwolf member Ian Barford. Wheeler is a man with both an emotional and a physical paunch. He’s 50 and going through an unpleasant divorce. An ex-photojournalist now reduced to doing repair work at a camera shop in a suburb of San Diego (do those shops really exist anymore, or are we in Beckett territory?), Wheeler goes by his last name, perhaps in part, he implies, because his first name is Dick.