How to Manage Fear | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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How to Manage Fear

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Last year postmodern pranksters Lucky Pierre set up their SwearLine, encouraging people to call and leave as much profanity as possible on an answering machine. Three weeks ago, streams of prerecorded cusswords wafted through the bathrooms of Laurelhurst Theater as part of the International Arts Group Exhibition in Portland, Oregon (by the way, the SwearLine is still open at 773-989-5955). Also last year, the group recruited volunteers to listen to B-96 disc jockeys for 24 hours straight, repeating and recording it all; that piece is currently touring the country as part of Temporary Services' "Audio Relay" project. And this weekend marks the conclusion of Lucky Pierre's video installation in the "Comfort Food" show at the Soo Visual Arts Center in Minneapolis; in it volunteers consume replications of the final meals requested by 20 of the 301 prisoners executed in Texas since 1982. This weekend also marks the company's first Chicago performance outside their studio on the near west side, where they've been cobbling together charming, indecipherable pieces from shreds of pop culture for the past seven years. How to Manage Fear--Lucky Pierre's most mature, complex, and inexplicable piece to date--transforms the 11-minute car chase from the film Bullitt into a 70-minute search for paradise. As always the troupe's approach is playful, intuitive, and seemingly illogical; gestures, choral speeches, dance moves, and video clips flow together with no obvious rhyme or reason. Those intolerant of ambiguity will be bored silly. But others may find in Lucky Pierre's ingeniously orchestrated fragments a world of imaginative possibility. Athenaeum Theatre, 2936 N. Southport, 773-722-5463. Through April 19: Fridays, 9:30 PM; Saturdays, 7:30 PM. $15.

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