Bleeding Clear | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Bleeding Clear


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By his own admission, Shea Nangle rehearses his one-man autobiographical nightmare Bleeding Clear "to a bare minimum," muttering to himself while walking down the street, waiting for elevators, or riding the el. "This isn't the kind of piece I want a lot of people to overhear," he explains--a paradoxical statement from a performer who publicly chronicles a life of chronic drug abuse, alcoholic tears, and repeated sexual molestation. Nangle's ambivalence gives Bleeding Clear the palpable edge lacking in so many of the carefully packaged autobiographical pieces around town--if it looks like he's on the verge of a breakdown, he's doing his job. "I don't want this to be something I'm comfortable doing," he says. The result is one of the purest and most disturbing theatrical experiences you're likely to see. Nangle has a gift for encapsulating psychological turmoil in deft strokes, and on occasion even allows himself a bit of humor: having sex on acid, he explains, is like trying to plug a lamp into a socket behind a heavy bookcase "but then you notice this really interesting book on the bookshelf that you've never seen before . . . " Nangle isn't out to shock or incriminate. In fact, he makes his own vengeful, murderous impulses seem far worse than anything done to him. He simply takes us on a tour of the human soul's darkest recesses, reminding us how terrifying it is to peer into that darkness. Lunar Cabaret and Full Moon Cafe, 2827 N. Lincoln, 327-6666. Saturday, February 10, 9 PM; Sunday, February 11 and 18, 3 PM. $7. --Justin Hayford

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): uncredited photo.

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