Hi! Performance | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Hi! Performance

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Watching DryLand is a bit like looking at a friend's vacation snapshots--and for good reason: Hi! Performance artistic directors Sheldon B. Smith and Lisa Wymore based their evening-length piece on a trip they took out west. At times our interest in the work has more to do with our affection for the travelers than with the beautiful vistas pictured. But more important, DryLand says tender, true things about human relationships, especially about how they're built and maintained. A squarish, bare wooden set hung with gauzy panels creates a house for the two, and domestic props--a teakettle, a radio, cups and saucers--establish the feeling of a home away from home. Repetitive sounds that suggest rain falling, a train clacking, insects buzzing, wind gusting, or the pounding of a hammer or a horse cantering give the sense that what we're witnessing is cyclic and timeless. Smith and Wymore--whose duets make up most of the piece, though guest artist Kathleen Hermesdorf performs a solo--are sometimes distant and aloof. Other times they're passionately if unsentimentally connected, as in one section that begins with the two asleep or underwater, drifting together and apart until they come together with great urgency. But usually the dancing is diffident, or offhandedly intimate, or slyly humorous, as when Smith and Wymore seem to silently bicker during a car ride, expressing the boredom and irritability we've all experienced during long confinements. This multimedia piece also includes video footage from the trip projected on the "walls" of the set, a sound design by Smith, and live music by Smith and Wymore. Altogether a labor of love. Link's Hall, 3435 N. Sheffield, 773-281-0824. Through March 2: Friday-Saturday, 8 PM; Sunday, 7 PM. $10-$12.

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