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Milly’s Orchid Show Hawaiian Style

An Orchid Show, like a vacation in Hawaii, is something everyone should try at least once in a lifetime–and, like contemporary Hawaii, an Orchid Show combines exquis ite beauty, Miami vulgarity, and unabashed camp. The appeal lies in Brigid Murphy’s rapidfire pacing and simultaneously luminous and goofy presence onstage as Milly May Smithy, as well […]

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Face Shifter

Some People Danny Hoch at the Organic Theater, through July 8 First, Danny Hoch has an uncanny ear for speech patterns, eye for body language, and ability to explore the sociological implications of our multiethnic society. And second, he has a great gift as a performer. However, unlike Anna Deavere Smith, who appeared at the […]

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Butterflies and Spiders

Emergence Dance Theatre is an anomaly in an anomalous discipline–a postmodern company that, like many these days, straddles the boundaries of performance art, time art, and dance yet does not have a liberal agenda–here art for art’s sake rules. Imagine, program notes without pedantic explanations of the philosophy, the meanings and sources, the Marcusian or […]

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Playwright’s Progress

Skinny White Boy in the Heart of Darkness Rick Cleveland at the Goodman Theatre Studio, May 24 Skinny White Boy in the Heart of Darkness is playwright Rick Cleveland’s witty, pathetic, ironic monologue about a journey through a dark domain brought about by a troubled childhood and marriage, early artistic success, and thwarted artistic ambitions. […]

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Riot Act

Conversational Placements Anna Deavere Smith at the Art Institute of Chicago, Arthur Rubloff Auditorium, May 12 A biology professor describes his theories of genetics and intelligence; a spacy socialite, public-relations maven, plastic-surgery victim, and real estate broker tells us why she holed up in a hotel during the Los Angeles riots; the instigator of the […]

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Tom & Sally

Loosely based on the relationship between Thomas Jefferson and his slave Sally Hemings, Doug Cooney and Karen Stephens’s Tom & Sally is a discomforting and fascinating look at our conflicted country and one of its more hypocritical and philosophically marooned founding fathers. Watching it is a bit like reading a John Grisham novel. You’re riveted […]

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When Heck Was a Puppy: The Living Testimonies of Folk Artist Edna Mae Brice

Based on several stories by southern folk artists and some from actress Tekki Lomnicki’s own life, this quasi-interactive, multimedia play written by Michael Blackwell, Lomnicki, and Nancy Neven Shelton tells the story of a brave, buoyant woman who battles several demons from her past on a bus ride to New Orleans. Featuring gospel music, slides, […]

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His Own Worst Enemy

The Life and Times of Jewboy Cain, a Musical Novel for the Stage Jeffrey Dorchen at the Lunar Cabaret and Full Moon Cafe, through March 25 Jeffrey Dorchen’s wicked monologue The Life and Times of Jewboy Cain is one bizarre ride–a fanciful, dark, perversely funny, strangely perspicuous, at times tasteless, vividly entertaining, beautifully paced tequila-influenced […]

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Mournful Mantra

Finding Water Mathew Wilson and Max King Cap at Link’s Hall, February 10 and 11 No other performance artist I’ve seen in the last four years has been quite as prolific as Mathew Wilson (except perhaps his diametrical opposite, Paula Killen). He works in a tradition considered by some to be more European at this […]

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The Letters Show

Could you resist eavesdropping on a juicy letter from a mother to her teenage daughter admonishing her to “straighten up and fly straight”? Or an imploring love letter, someone’s “things to do” list, or some confidential corporate correspondence? You can hear such things read aloud during David Hauptschein’s third annual Letters Show, in which audience […]

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Winter Pageant

If you grow weary at the prospect of another New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day, you might seek out the humble magic and mystery of Redmoon Theater’s third annual Winter Pageant. Closer to a traditional masque than to performance art or experimental theater, yet drawing on both these traditions, this show is performed entirely […]

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The Real Thing

Fluid Measure Performance Company at the Dance Center of Columbia College, November 17-19 Fluid Measure Performance Company has evolved amazingly since the days in the late 70s and early 80s when a group of performance artists (including me) sat at a table in Patricia Pelletier’s apartment haggling, at times yelling, over the goals of a […]

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Feed Me

BEYOND THE FRIDGE Lisa Kotin at Chicago Filmmakers, September 23 and 24 “How do you ever expect to catch a man with all that mime going on?” a father says to his mime-besotted teenage daughter in one of the vignettes within Lisa Kotin’s skillful, funny one-woman show Beyond the Fridge. Following this accusation/musing/indictment, Kotin first […]