Avner the Eccentric | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Avner the Eccentric

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Avner Eisenberg claims, with tongue characteristically in cheek, to have been "the first American middle-class street juggler." Juggling is just one of his many talents; mime-clown-acrobat Avner does sleight-of-hand tricks, balances heavy ladders and nearly weightless peacock feathers on his chin, swallows chair legs, walks a tightrope, and turns everyday acts (walking, picking up and carrying objects, putting on his hat) into marvelously funny little absurdist ballets. His wryly hip demeanor suggests that it's all a put-on, but his finely honed agility proves otherwise: this is the real goods, a master clown whose show is perfect for adults and kids alike. Avner's roots as a street entertainer are delightfully evident in his interaction with the viewers; with an attitude that's mischievous, bold, even slightly arrogant, he employs far more audience participation than the usual stage performer--which makes each show in his current engagement as part of the Goodman Theatre's "Solo in the Studio" series a genuinely new and unique event. Goodman Theatre Studio, through February 28. Friday-Sunday, 8 PM; matinee Saturday and Sunday, 2:30 PM. $15.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Simo Neri.

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