4.48 Psychosis | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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4.48 Psychosis

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Sarah Kane's play is about power: the power to define, to control, to make others confront something terrifying--like this work, especially in the Hypocrites' unremittingly intense production, which requires the audience to stand or follow the action around the space. Kane, who committed suicide before the play premiered, vividly dramatizes the struggle between a woman and her psychiatrist over who gets to define the woman's despair and asks whether such pervasive misery is to be cured or simply accepted as the individual's prerogative. Every aspect of 4.48 Psychosis is a challenge. Kane has her protagonist say, "People may think this self-indulgent"--and there are points in her hour-long howl of anguish when you're thinking, Get over yourself! It's proof of the production's power that it can excite such resistance and still enthrall. Sure-handedly directed by Sean Graney, it rests securely on Stacy Stoltz's explosive but nuanced performance as the protagonist. Just a reminder: Side Studio in Rogers Park is in the midst of a super staging of another Kane play, Crave (see listing); see both for a double dose of holiday cheer. Through 12/18: Thu-Sat 8 PM and Sun 3 and 7 PM, Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Merle Reskin Garage Theatre, 1624 N. Halsted, 312-335-1650, $15.

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