Duct and Still | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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This is a summer for solo-performance lovers in Chicago. First Steppenwolf offered a roster of local stars in Love & Sin: A Solo Experience. Now Live Bait Theater, which has made solo performance an integral part of its programming since opening its doors in 1988, presents its seventh annual Fillet of Solo Festival. The monthlong event kicks off with two pieces that offer decidedly complex views of motherhood. In Duct Stephanie Shaw tries to bridge the gaping cultural divide that separates personhood from motherhood. After she has children, her adventurous, artistic, and sexual sides atrophy in the mayhem of diapers and Teletubbies, and she finds herself trapped inside an enormous air-conditioning duct, waddling about the stage in an absurd aluminum prison of her own design. In Still Susan McLaughlin Karp turns a nearly unimaginable tragedy--carrying to term a stillborn baby--into a thoughtful, poignant, and altogether exhilarating monologue. Karp is an unapologetic and unsentimental performer, yet she manages to pack plenty of humor into this harrowing journey. Astute writers and crafty performers, Shaw and Karp make for a dream double bill. But both women are headed off to the New York Fringe Festival in mid-August, so you've got just two weekends to catch them here at home. Live Bait Theater, 3914 N. Clark, 773-871-1212. July 26-August 3: Duct plays Fridays-Saturdays, 7 PM; Still plays Fridays-Saturdays, 8:30 PM. $10.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Dexter Ballard.

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