Free Enterprise | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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Free Enterprise

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FREE ENTERPRISE, CollaborAction, at Voltaire. Less a play than an extended comedy sketch, Eric Sanders's Free Enterprise still manages to pack more satisfying comic drama into its 30 minutes of stage time than most plays fit into two hours.

Free Enterprise is at once a witty parody--of Beckett (Waiting for Godot), Pinter (The Dumb Waiter), and Mamet (anything between American Buffalo and House of Games)--and a dramatic work in its own right. It manages the difficult trick of telling an interesting story--about a couple of grifters waiting for a guy who has plans for a machine that makes diamonds real cheap--even as it presents a critique of free-market capitalism.

Sanders sometimes depends a little too much on the old Monty Python standard of barely articulate regular guys suddenly revealing they understand in breathtaking detail the ins and outs of this or that philosophical system--his lowlifes know more about Immanuel Kant and John Maynard Keynes than many graduate students. But this is a mere quibble in a show that just zips along, thanks in no small part to director Kimberly Senior's tight, well-paced production and Lou Saliba and David Mitchell Ghilardi's brilliant comic performances.

--Jack Helbig

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