Domestic Relics | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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Domestic Relics

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Domestic Relics, Second Floor Adriana, at Breadline Theatre. This meditative late-night improv excursion, directed by ImprovOlympic veteran Pat Shay, pulls its ideas from performer-moderated audience discussion. Using everyday objects as catalysts--patrons who bring "domestic relics" to the show get a $2 discount--the cast reassemble first-person reminiscences into a single free-associative melange. At its best the evening recalls Joseph Cornell's famous boxes, whose surreal juxtapositions represent, in the words of critic Robert Hughes, "the strata of repressed memory, a jumble of elements waiting to be grafted and mated to one another."

Domestic Relics is definitely more concerned with discovery and engagement than laughs, but even so, such shows tend to hinge on a few exceptionally poised players. While never less than effervescent, this collage was electric only when Angela Forfia or Dave Buckman was center stage. Chris Daniels, Paula Pazderka, Shane Wilson, and Jane Menendez turned in fair work, but their navigation was less assured, sometimes exposing a slackness in the overall form. On the whole, though, this is a pleasant if mild affair that succeeds in its main aim: conveying the quiet mystery of the mundane.

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