Arts & Culture » Theater Critic's Choice

Abiogenesis Movement Ensemble

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Abiogenesis Movement Ensemble defies easy classification. This seven-year-old Chicago-based troupe freely borrows from such disparate sources as theater, modern dance, silent movies, and performance art to fashion pieces that are too roughly hewn and text-bound for dance purists, too abstract and nontraditional for mainstream theatergoers. In the semiautobiographical Liars, for example, choreographer Angela Allyn uses as her jumping-off point NPR journalist Ira Glass's recent series on pathological liars. In this powerful piece three men and four women, all in cocktail dresses and high heels, illustrate selections from the stories told to Glass by women who had lived with or married pathological liars. Throughout the piece the performers carry folding chairs that they use as both props and ersatz partners. Such intentional media mixing sometimes backfires, but in both Liars and their recent "hit-and-run" shows--in which the group keeps its performance location a secret until the last minute--Abiogenesis comes up with work as exuberant as dance, as accessible as theater, and as intellectually playful and open to experimentation as the best performance art. This performance of Liars is part of the Link's Hall Chance Dance Performance Fest. At Link's Hall, August 22 (3435 N. Sheffield, 281-0824). Thursday, 8 PM, $5.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/J. Alexander Newberry.

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