David Kodeski's True Life Tales | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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David Kodeski's True Life Tales

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Onstage David Kodeski has a disarming looseness, an honest, likable simplicity that makes even folksy performers like Spalding Gray seem forced and fake. But don't be fooled by Kodeski's candor. His monologues are not tossed together--they're the result of months of thought and research. Doris is condensed from what must have been hours of interviews with a 93-year-old widow. Niagara! (You Should Have Been Yosemite) knits together stories about Niagara Falls, Kodeski's experiences as a tour guide there, and his memories of his younger brother's short-lived battle with brain cancer; alternately very funny and very moving, the piece is in the end transcendently beautiful. And in Another Lousy Day Kodeski weaves an hour-long performance out of the diaries he found in thrift shops written by a funny, tart blue-collar woman working in the early 60s at the Zenith plant on Chicago's northwest side. Kodeski's craft raises his work to a level of artistry rarely attained by solo performers (for whom reputation, hype, and who you know always seem more important than the work itself). And fortunately the folks at Live Bait have decided to give him the month of May to perform a retrospective of these three shows. Live Bait Theater, 3914 N. Clark, Chicago, 773-871-1212. Through May 27: Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 PM; the schedule follows. Niagara! (You Should Have Been Yosemite) is performed Thursday, May 4 and 25; Friday, May 19; and Saturday, May 13. Doris is performed Thursday, May 18; Friday, May 12; and Saturday, May 6 and 27. Another Lousy Day is performed Thursday, May 11; Friday, May 5 and 26; and Saturday, May 20. $10 per show; $25 for all three pieces. --Jack Helbig

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