Theater aimed at adolescents is frequently as dry and didactic as a Sunday-school lesson. But Cog in the Freak Plan, developed by teenagers for teenagers in Free Street Programs' TeenStreet Theater, takes its cue from hip-hop's mixing techniques in this tale of a pregnant young woman who, after careful deliberation, rejects the demands of motherhood. Scrambling visual and aural images into a collage all the more vivid for its ambiguity, the show is undeniably an ensemble effort, with dancers providing constant accompaniment to the speakers' free-form texts. This searing look at a common social problem returns to Chicago after representing the United States at the World Congress of Youth and Children's Theatre in Norway last June (it's scheduled to tour Germany next spring). For those over 19, Cog in the Freak Plan offers assistance in the form of DJ Franco "Magno" P. de Leon, whose stageside sound design helps viewers orient themselves in this seamless lyrical swirl. Columbia College Theater/Music Center, Getz Theater, 62 E. 11th, 773-772-7248. October 16 and 17: Saturday, 7 PM; Sunday, 3 PM. $8; $4 for students. --Mary Shen Barnidge
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Kristine Wolff.