The many years that Lauri Macklin has been performing have taught her to pare her performances to the simplest things. In the 20-minute solo piece Parallel Worlds she sits in a chair and plays the accordion and sings wordlessly, then tells a story, and finally plays and sings again. But the story–about an idolized aunt who becomes mentally ill–and the way the singing and playing quietly communicate helplessness, love, and bereavement are as passionate as can be imagined. When I saw it in a workshop, this short piece revealed that strong feelings are often quiet and receptive, and that family bonds are perhaps the strongest and the most constricting. They can tie you down, sit on your chest, and show you that you’re not so different. Narcissists should not plan to attend. Cafe Voltaire, 3231 N. Clark, 472-3423. Through March 25: Saturdays, 7:30 PM. $5.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): Photo/Ivan Midderigh.