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Free Henry Goodbar, Telepath


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James Moeller's new play for the Black Forest Theater Company is a sloppy oddball collage featuring Howard Hughes, Richard Nixon, Guantanamo Bay political prisoners, and enough druggy ruminations on the nature of the mind and memory to make Carlos Castaneda weep. But embedded in its incoherent excesses are nuggets of sheer brilliance, particularly when Moeller draws parallels between the American culture wars of the Vietnam era (obviously still haunting us today) and the rise of Islamic fundamentalism, fueled by opposition to American pop culture. While Noel Olken as Nixon rails against war protesters "living off their fat trust funds," Wahib Merchant as a young Taliban prisoner explains on videotape that he's caught between "two polarities. One pole is Osama, and the other is 50 Cent." Despite uncertain performances, there are some remarkably interesting moments in this hallucinatory dreamscape. Through 11/20: Fri-Sat 8 PM. Peter Jones Gallery, 1806 W. Cuyler, 847-733-1556. $10 "or whatever you can afford."

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