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In the Realm of the Senseless

GOOSE AND TOMTOM Transient Theatre Superman, Batman, and Wonderwoman went into the woods and they went to the house where the pigs lived. They saw a wicked witch. She gave them poisoned food. Then they died. Then Wonderwoman had magic and they woke up. Everybody didn’t wake up. Then they woke up from Wonderwoman’s magic. […]

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An Enemy of the People

AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE Northlight Theatre Back in high school I was friends with Ruthie Mendelsohn, whose father was a pediatrician. All I knew about Dr. Mendelsohn at the time was that he never felt that he had to clear out when Arnie and Jeff and I came over to see Ruthie. In absolute […]

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The Human Circus

JOSEPH HOLMES CHICAGO DANCE THEATREat the Civic Center for Performing ArtsMarch 1 and 2 Randy Duncan is a versatile choreographer with a knack for giving the same moves–high kicks, high extensions, self-conscious wriggles–different moods. The variety in his choreography comes from the circus of human feeling; the shifting dramas of social relationship permeate his work. […]

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My Blue Heaven

MY BLUE HEAVEN Footsteps Theatre The publicity for Jane Chambers’s comedy My Blue Heaven promises “Green Acres with a twist,” but it seems to me more like a lesbian-affirmative variation on The Fox. Mark Rydell’s 1968 movie version of D.H. Lawrence’s phallocentric fable depicts a metaphorical henhouse torn apart by a furry predator, when a […]

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Field & Street

So far as I know, the groundhog is the only rodent to have its own official day. It also has its own song, an old southern Appalachian banjo tune about an epic hunt. It is only fitting for banjo players to sing about groundhogs–or whistle pigs, an alternative name that shows up in some versions […]

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Mother and Child

It’s Tuesday going on Wednesday, and a woman in a sweatshirt is standing holding a baby in the fog on Kedzie near Fullerton. I’m driving home from Cub Foods following a stop at a tavern with a friend. I watch her while waiting at the stoplight. She watches me. This isn’t a war zone–the boulevard […]

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Love, Sex, and the I.R.S.

LOVE, SEX, AND THE I.R.S. A Company of Faces at the Calo Theatre Jon and Kate are engaged to be married in two weeks. Kate, however, has been having an affair (but without sex–that’s for after marriage) with Jon’s roommate and best friend, Leslie. Since Jon had a reputation back in college for violently jealous […]

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ISO and the Bobs

ISO AND THE BOBS at the Civic Theatre February 20-24 Watching ISO dance is like watching classic Saturday-morning cartoons: no intellectual pretensions, no political agenda, no tugging on the heartstrings; just entertaining high jinks and slapstick taking whack after powerful whack at your funny bone. Actually, watching ISO is more fun: they’re real, not celluloid, […]

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Look at Me

LOOK AT ME Majik Theatrical Company at the Apollo Theater Center The press release for Look at Me, a one-woman show featuring cabaret performer Cissy Conner, boasts that Conner’s character “says all the things people have thought but never voiced.” I beg to differ. Serena Ann McCall mouths every inanity and stereotype about life and […]

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Johann! Johann!

JOHAN! JOHAN! Chicago Medieval Players at the Fine Arts Building If some things never change, maybe it’s because we like them the way they are. It hardly matters that Johan! Johan! is almost half a millennium old–the libidinal urges it celebrates are timeless. The heroine, Tib, a bored and randy London housewife, is as ancient […]