Fallout; The Playwright . . . and All That Crap | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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Fallout; The Playwright . . . and All That Crap

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FALLOUT and THE PLAYWRIGHT . . . AND ALL THAT CRAP, Canamac Productions, at Raven Theatre. The first of these pieces by Todd Logan is billed as a one-act, but three regulation-size scenes lurk within. Despite the elaboration, Fallout is altogether mystifying, a nonplay that seems either plucked from a still-larger work or the convenient marriage of essentially unrelated fragments. Michael (Daniel Patrick Sullivan), a budding writer, is working through the loss of his wife (Jennie Moreau) to mental illness; this background noise masquerades as a passable through line, but no conflict, resolution, or dramatic arc follows. Instead we're treated to the circular dialogue of a poor man's Durang. Director Richard Shavzin and an all-Equity cast keep things just shy of embarrassment--though Sullivan tends to act at full throttle throughout.

The second piece is shorter and, mercifully, makes no pretense of touching on any heavy issues. The Playwright (Dev Kennedy) laments the latest crap he's written, and his wife (Moreau once again) banters back with eye-rolling but supportive nonchalance. Surprise, surprise--one of his half-baked ideas more or less corresponds to play number one. But the self-reflexive machinery accomplishes nothing: writer and wife may be unsure as to the quality of Fallout; the audience, however, has no such doubts. Meanwhile the play around the play, though pleasant enough, amounts to a lighthearted exercise about writer's block--something only a handful of geniuses have trafficked with to any meaningful effect. The miracle doesn't happen here.

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