In spite of his theatrical training and experience, monologuist Frank Melcori trashes much of its implied aesthetic, favoring an almost offhand delivery that is probably not much different from how he tells someone a story in confidence over a few beers. If you’ve ever been repelled by actors strutting egomaniacally across the stage, projecting their voices to the back row in an elaborate display of artifice–a practice that the theater tradition regards as necessary–Melcori’s infinitely more relaxed manner of delivering the goods can put you on his side right away. But in his newest piece, Sex Life 2000, Melcori also demonstrates that though he’s a natural storyteller, his art is by no means artless. As he relates the story of an amusing, perplexing, and quietly bizarre sexual encounter-periodically drifting off on the most unlikely tangents–it soon becomes clear how much he’s in control of his technique, handling spoken words with plasticity and daring as he builds situation and character through the unhurried accretion of carefully chosen details. Also known for such past works as Milestones–A Tribute to Miles Davis and the wonderful Nixon Live! The Future Is Now, Melcori draws our attention to how the most mind-boggling things in life are precisely the most commonplace. Cafe Voltaire, 3231 N. Clark, 528-3136. Through March 28: Sundays, 4:30 PM. Then April 6 through 27: Tuesdays, 9 PM. $6.

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