In The Eye of the Beholder | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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In The Eye of the Beholder

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IN THE EYE OF THE BEHOLDER, Lookingglass Theatre Company, at Bailiwick Arts Center. First produced in 1993 at Prop Theatre's old North Avenue space, Laura Eason's semiautobiographical one-act is the kind of polemic likely to give agitprop a good name. Her cause is just--she targets the silencing of girls in school and the destruction of their self-image everywhere--and her presentation, not as well-known in '93 as now, is lively and entertaining.

Still, one wonders why the Lookingglass folks have chosen now, of all times, to revive it. Though Eason has revised the work somewhat, she hasn't changed the play or its message substantially. She has trimmed the male roles, and as a member of the Y-Chromosome Club, I missed these caricatures, which have the delicious witty viciousness of fine satire. Eason is only a little kinder to her own sex, who so willingly play dumb for the sake of snagging a boyfriend.

But perhaps I should be asking, "Why not now?" I don't think anything has changed for the better in the last four years. In fact, increased interest in strip clubs, freakishly thin uebermodels, and actresses best known for their boob jobs have made Eason's message all the more urgent. And the play does make a fine counterpoint to the sexist stereotypes of Robert Dubac--not to mention all the other wannabes trying to make a buck repeating John Gray's "men are from Mars, women are from Venus" bullshit. -- Jack Helbig

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