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In 50 blistering minutes the four unnamed characters delivering Sarah Kane's prose poem, talking against rather than with one another, manage to distill all their individual and collective existential struggles. If they all seem to be operating on the knife-edge of sanity, it's because their subjects are maddening: how and why to stay alive amid horror, how to express love despite alienation and rejection. Fragmented dialogue reflects the impossibility of communication: character A talks to character B or to the air, but character C replies. Quoting everyone from T.S. Eliot to Alfred Hitchcock, Kane (who committed suicide at 28) also highlights the difficulty of achieving authenticity in a world where everything seems to have been said already. The Side Project presents Crave with unremitting intensity in a space the size of a living room. Director Stephen Cone wrings every drop of meaning from the script and energy from his strong cast. Will Schutz stands out, delivering (at an incredibly rapid pace) a profoundly moving meditation on love while sliding his hand up the skirt of the horrified object of his obsession. If the piece can be compared to anything, it's Steppenwolf doing Sam Shepard in the earliest days of both. Through 12/4: Thu-Sat 8 PM, Sun 7 PM. Side Studio, 1520 W. Jarvis, 773-973-2150. $10-$15; two for one Thu.

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