I Can Eat The Sun | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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I Can Eat The Sun

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I Can Eat The Sun, Docklight Theatre Company, at Strawdog Theatre Company. Contemplating the heavens often eclipses earthly concerns, but for playwright Michael Yates Crowley, the language of astronomy--specifically, "supernovas" and "mean free paths"--lends itself all too readily to everyday analogies. As a result, the astrophysics class that's the setting for I Can Eat the Sun is riddled with personal agendas. Gay Ryan sets his sights on het classmate John, who looks to the cosmos for relief from the confusion this causes. Meanwhile, brainiac Cowgirl is enamored of the teacher, who's been brought to the brink of burnout by years of stargazing--a fever he demands his students share.

Is Crowley commenting on hormonal confusion, scholarly hubris, or the whole uncertain human condition? What the Docklight Theatre Company has at this point is not a script but an outline. Still needed are narrative consistency--if John is going to soliloquize in song, he shouldn't be the only one to do so--and a more sophisticated staging (an older actor as the professor would give greater weight to his apocalyptic obsession).

Crowley's characters are likable in their way. But as long as they remain as nebulously defined as the atomic particles director Michael Rau has them mimic, our ignorance of their motives impedes any investment in--well, their universe.

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