Looking as though he'd just been hit by several trucks in rapid succession, playwright Bryn Magnus introduced the opening night of his Invisible Sympathies, an evening of brief plays and even briefer character musings, by saying, "This has been a hard day." Then he dropped his glasses. "We were planning to rehearse a whole lot," Magnus said to me after the show. "But we didn't." Probably the smartest mistake he ever made. Now in its third incarnation, this hour-long Magnus monologue sampler has mellowed like the finest of wines, though a bit of it slops over the edge of the cask. Mark Comiskey and Colm O'Reilly have grown even more comfortable with Magnus's formidable language, strolling through his labyrinthine, desire-soaked hallucinations. Newcomer Benjamin Rayner brings a washed-up tough-guy intensity to the group, revealing new depths of humor and pathos in the material. The two previous versions of Invisible Sympathies were fully staged--three one-acts during last summer's Rhino Fest, and six one-acts a few months later at Curious Theatre Branch's former home--but this time around staged readings of new material appear; Magnus even reads a few fresh scribbles directly out of his notebook. This chamber format creates a charming intimacy, exploiting the narrative as well as the dramatic aspects of his writing. Forget the rehearsals; this is how these pieces are meant to be seen. Lunar Cabaret and Full Moon Cafe, 2827 N. Lincoln, 327-6666. Through January 25: Wednesdays, 8 PM. $7, or "pay what you can."
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Brenda Ann Bonert.