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Fillet of Solo

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Live Bait Theater's showcase of one-person shows features new work by a slew of familiar fringe faces, among them Stephanie Shaw, Mark Gagne, Quincy Wong, and David Kodeski. The event allows Live Bait the opportunity to launch its second performance space, the Bucket, designed specifically for solo work; shows also take place on the theater's main stage.

The fifth annual Fillet of Solo Festival runs through August 25 at Live Bait Theater, 3914 N. Clark. Tickets are $10 per show unless otherwise noted; a festival pass costs $30.

Call 773-871-1212 for reservations

(tickets are also available on-line at www.TicketWeb.com); consult www.livebaittheater.org for more information.

THURSDAY, AUGUST 16

Live Bait Bucket Solo Sampler

Solo artists Stephanie Shaw, Edward Thomas-Herrera, Martie Sanders, Quincy Wong, and Sergi Bosch offer samples of their new work. David Kodeski hosts. "Wong and Bosch haven't yet found their voices as monologuists. . . . Wong seems particularly ill at ease, working overtime to connect with his own material. His aim . . . is to challenge stereotypes about Chinese-Americans. . . . But for the most part his observations are superficial. . . . Bosch presents character studies. . . . As an actor, he tends to adopt a dozen mannerisms where one would suffice. . . . If he can stop fidgeting long enough to put his ideas across, [he] might develop into a performer worth watching. Shaw, Kodeski, and Thomas-Herrera are always worth watching. . . . These three should do Chicago a favor and perform a whole lot more often," says Reader critic Justin Hayford. Bucket, 8 PM.

FRIDAY, AUGUST 17

Still

Susan McLaughlin Karp shares the experience of her first pregnancy and her baby's stillbirth. Stephanie Shaw directs. "Karp casts herself as an ordinary woman caught up in extraordinary circumstances [in this] surreal montage. . . . Like the poetry of Wallace Stevens, Karp's piece is moving because she seems removed from the emotions she describes, . . . evoking them with precise, rich details. . . . Still is astonishing, avoiding every bathetic snare while effortlessly capturing the nuances of an agonizing experience. As distressing as Karp's material may be, it's exhilarating to watch a performer recover her life so artfully," says Reader critic Justin Hayford. Main stage, 7 PM.

White Rice

Quincy Wong and Kim Hsieh pool their talents for an evening of monologues exploring their experiences as the American-born children of Chinese parents. Bucket, 8 PM.

Never the Straight Man

Mark Gagne, founder of the Free Associates improv troupe, reflects on his life as a gay man in the largely straight world of comedy. Sharon Evans directs. "For the better part of an hour [Gagne] tells simple stories of growing up gay in and around Boston. [His] adolescent stories are familiar to most gay men: fending off classmates' epithets, trying to survive the sexual tumult of the senior prom, plotting an escape to college and perceived sexual freedom. And during the first half of Never the Straight Man Gagne's wry, poker-faced delivery lends some freshness to these vignettes. But when he begins to describe his early adulthood as a struggling comedian and improviser, his unique point of view all but disappears and the piece flattens. Rather than a series of sharply observed moments, the show feels like one thing after another, without discernible shape or a meaningful conclusion," says Reader critic Justin Hayford. Main stage, 9 PM.

SATURDAY, AUGUST 18

Still

See listing for Friday, August 17. Main stage, 7 PM.

White Rice

See listing for Friday, August 17. Bucket, 8 PM.

Never the Straight Man

See listing for Friday, August 17. Main stage, 9 PM.

THURSDAY, AUGUST 23

Live Bait Bucket Solo Sampler

See listing for Thursday, August 16. Bucket, 8 PM.

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

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