Cut to the Quick: Splayed Verbiage | McKaw Theater | Theater & Performance | Chicago Reader

Cut to the Quick: Splayed Verbiage Member Picks The Short List (Theater) Recommended Closing (Theater and Galleries)

When: Fridays-Sundays. Continues through Dec. 21 2008

The best of the 19 original short works featured in the expertly curated Cut to the Quick festival are incisive marvels of verbal economy--and even the worst are interesting. "Splayed Verbiage," one of three programs running in repertory, is a collection of ten-minute plays, mostly dealing with meet-ups, hookups, and breakups. Standouts include the poignant 78 by Laurel Haines, about a couple who go from infancy to dotage in a single day, and Brett Neveu's decidedly unromantic Ethnic Cleansing Day, in which the simple act of sharing vacation photos crackles with Pinteresque menace. The one-acts collected in "Static/Cling" concern people who are stuck in life and stuck with each other (i.e., families). The best of these is What Happened When by Daniel Talbott, an elliptical conversation between two brothers in which secrets bubble up as if of their own accord. And violence is the common thread in the one-acts on the third program, "Splinters and Shrapnel": Robert Tenges"s Three Hymns of Apathy explores the effects of a terrorist act on a couple, movingly played by Erin Shelton and Otis Fine, while in Joe Talarico's damning Dead Weight, two awful teenage girls crack racist jokes and obsess over boys as an apocalyptic war rages outside. --Zac Thompson

Price: $15-$20, festival pass $30


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