Across | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Anyone going to a Baubo Performance Project show expecting a polished, completely digested whole will be sorely disappointed. The women in this collective are much too interested in exploring and innovating--in finding new ways to mix dance, theater, music, and performance--to limit themselves to mass-market ideas and modes. Instead their shows resemble sketchbooks, packed as they are with quickly rendered ideas rather than finished drawings. In their current show, Across, they attempt to swallow whole the subject of America's expansion west and its reverberations today, reflected in our culture's love of travel and relocation. Of course they don't completely cover the subject--the show is barely an hour long. But they do present a series of striking and original fragments (truncated dance sequences, scraps of dialogue, abbreviated monologues, a short moody film), directed and largely written by cofounder Lee Anne Schmitt, that evoke a very American kind of loneliness and despair. Friends part, families disintegrate, but we just keep rolling along. Not all the show's moments are equally successful, but the ones that hit home--the monologues staged so we never see the speaker's face, the dreamlike variations on a scene in which one person asks another "Where will you go?"--strike below the threshold of consciousness to move us before we know we're being touched. Holy Covenant United Methodist Church, 925 W. Diversey, 312-409-1428. Through June 21: Fridays-Sundays, 8 PM. $10. --Jack Helbig

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): theater still.

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