Bondage | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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BONDAGE, Trap Door Theatre. Written by David Hines--a London taxi driver who ferried about many prostitutes--Bondage (the source of Ken Russell's film Whore) is a slice-of-life confession by Liz, a far-from-hardened street survivor who offers unsentimental anecdotes about vicious pimps, over-the-hill whores, kinky johns, and the occasional Samaritan, like the lesbian who befriends her. She also offers some tricks of the trade: Get the money first. Never kiss. Never go where they want you to. And make it quick or you'll wish you could run a meter while the guy tries to get it up.

Restless, dressed in a rubber trench coat and laced boots, Liz ranges from tender (showing us a photo of the son who was "fostered out" from her) to tough (sharing too-close encounters with shoe fetishists, cops extorting freebies, and customers who want to be caned or watch her take a dump). Defiantly she declares, "I do it for the money"--not as a safety valve for bad marriages or male aggression. Sex is "dead for me," she says. Suicide requires courage. Desperate for work, Liz finally accepts an offer from a john who won't use a rubber.

Trap Door Theatre relocates the play to Chicago's North Avenue for its U.S. premiere. As directed by Matt Fontaine, Nicole Wiesner brings a rough grace to the part, never sagging into self-pity or thickening into misandry. She makes us see what she says, and that's feat enough.

--Lawrence Bommer

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