Home, Cook County Theatre Department. An eerie glow and a pixielike voice emanate from a toilet bowl, asking two sisters to look for a lost "tiny-tiny" dog. A fisherman recites an exhaustive list of fish, asking the girls which they prefer. Later the sisters recall a roadside freak show featuring the "smallest woman in the world." How these things are connected is explained, albeit enigmatically, in the Cook County Theatre Department's latest experiment, Home.
Based on the songs of troupe member Chris Sullivan (who also directs), this work seems like it's still in development. The casual tone of the sisters' conversation (frequently obliterated by the rumble of rolling stage furniture) contrasts sharply with the discipline in a sequence of quasi-Jacques-Dalcroze movements where even the eye blinks are precisely choreographed. But the ingenuous minimalism with which the material is presented creates a Cornell-box intimacy that piques one's curiosity, and it's almost disappointing when the play ends abruptly after a mere 45 minutes. Guitars suspended from the ceiling and such exotic props as stilts add a touch of surrealism, and the concentration displayed by the three performers--Sullivan, Becky Phillips, and Vicki Walden--gives the impression that they know what they're doing, even when we don't.
--Mary Shen Barnidge