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You have to admire Liz Lerman’s chutzpah: she fearlessly tackles genetics in the 90-minute Ferocious Beauty: Genome, which includes texts, dancing, and lots of projections. Too often, though, the piece is merely expository: sometimes it resembles a talking-heads documentary (various scientists offer their views), sometimes a colorfully illustrated textbook, sometimes a burlesque act/kids’ science show (sexy Miss Tata personifies the TATA box, an element in initiating DNA transcription). Occasionally Lerman ventures into more challenging territory–she questions the desirability of survival and longevity, for example, in a sequence where an elderly person looks at “mandatory” rules for various ages: at 95, take up motorcycle riding; at 105, join a Russian roulette club. But the big and gloriously messy Ferocious Beauty (offered in conjunction with the MCA’s “Massive Change” exhibit) should really be seen for its beauty, not for its ideas. a Opens Thu 9/28, 7:30 PM. Through 9/30: Fri-Sat 7:30 PM, Museum of Contemporary Art, theater, 220 E. Chicago, 312-397-4010, $20-$24, $10 students. Discussion of genetics Tue 9/26, 6 PM, free with reservation through the Illinois Humanities Council. Postshow discussion Thursday, and family movement class Saturday 9/30, 2 PM, at the Field Museum, free with registration through the MCA box office.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Michael Brosilow.