Capsize | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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Capsize, Sprung, at Link's Hall. This wordless account of the rise and fall of a relationship has many clever moments--and many more affecting ones. Its communication by movement, gesture, and facial expression owes more to Charlie Chaplin than to stereotypical mime, a debt that directors Jon Sherman and Julie Beauvais recognize by using silent-movie music.

Sherman as the Man and Sharon Gopfert as the Woman capture perfectly love's evolution from wonder through routine and restlessness to disintegration. A five-person chorus playing friends, lovers, and neighbors reflects the social pressures on intimate relationships, but when the chorus dominates, the piece loses focus: it's the couple we care about. And at times stagecraft trumps meaning: the only props, buckets of water, are like the proverbial onstage gun that must be fired, and their symbolic use has been exhausted long before they've all been tossed. The five chairs constituting the set fare better, serving as the couple's bed, bathroom sink, and disputed living room furniture before ending up as the Woman's prison.

Wonderful moments include the Man and Woman coming down simultaneously with the flu (getting sick of each other); the first bucket being dumped on the Man when he pursues another woman, as if they were mating dogs; and a reconciliation during which the Man and Woman literally try to make the other see things his or her way. Even at an hour, the piece is slightly too long, but its original approach to a familiar subject is worth seeing.

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