Crosscurrents | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

Crosscurrents, WNEP Theater. It's said that music is the art form closest to pure emotion, but Jeffrey L. Shivar's delicate score is only part of what makes this 75-minute drama, described as a "wordless play," so poignant. Its silent action, directed by Don Hall, also intensifies our identification with the characters.

Inspired by the 1966 Beatles song "Eleanor Rigby" ("All the lonely people / Where do they all belong?"), the piece introduces us to seven isolated individuals who surf the Internet, watch television, plan birthday parties for one, play solitaire, and contemplate their mirrors, photographs of loved ones, or suicide. We then watch their failed attempts to strike up an acquaintance with somebody--by sampling wares at a cosmetics counter (until a mishap results in a nosebleed), sharing cigarettes in the park (with the smokers differing on disposal of the butts), playing a barroom game of darts (she wins, he's humiliated). And finally we see them connect successfully and pair off.

But wait! If we start with seven individuals, that means one must be left alone. How the situation is resolved may bring tears to your eyes, but remember that tears earned honestly are testimony to this show's intelligent, talented ensemble and the empathy they generate.

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