Arrogant Living | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Arrogant Living

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Arrogant Living

"An explosion of misunderstanding has erupted about certain motherfuckin' things," chirps Jeff Dorchen in the bouncy musical number that opens Arrogant Living, his "episodic collage cabaret." He's out to "correct sloppy thinking," and he believes his hour onstage will overhaul the American psyche. It's a tall order for a man who admits he spent all day in bed trying to find a reason to get up. In the show's first episode, entitled "My Critique," Dorchen--with the help of special guest Cheryl Trykv--carried on as though Arrogant Living were a multinational arts corporation with interventionist tendencies. The Moscow production, we were told, ran for 83 years and resulted in the overthrow of the czarist system in favor of a Communist dictatorship (Dorchen played Stalin). The Cambodian production, Trykv said, was a disaster thanks to Dorchen's towering ego. "If a, then b--you know what I'm saying," she concluded with her trademark sparkling snarl. Making himself into a paranoid buffoon, Dorchen never let us forget that his show has been the target of systematic harassment from the Man--which includes the CIA, Michael Eisner, and even the dinosaurs. Yet his writing has never been so sharp or his performance so economical. Each week Dorchen presents a new episode with different guests; this week it's David Isaacson and David Kodeski talking about the "concept of Gramma," and next week Dave Awl and Edward Thomas-Herrera do a "Chicago alternative-media gripe thing." The Second City, Donny's Skybox Studio, Piper's Alley, 1608 N. Wells (fourth floor), 312-337-3992. Through November 1: Fridays-Saturdays, 10 PM. $10. --Justin Hayford

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

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