Jenny Magnus: A Solo Evening | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Jenny Magnus: A Solo Evening

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More than most people I know, Jenny Magnus embodies the Walt Whitman line "I am large, I contain multitudes." Using as props just a cumbersome futon in What Abandon Meant and just a bag of rice in Cant, she investigates self-sufficiency, trust, self-sacrifice, and love in its many forms: sexual, filial, maternal. Though she looks like your next-door neighbor, she's able to take on the personas of many people and make them come to life: a goofy teenager, a self-absorbed father, a self-righteous lactation consultant who epitomizes niceness. Magnus also sings, and sings well, delivering her powerful lyrics in a heartfelt yet matter-of-fact way. In Cant, which I saw a year ago, her subjects run the gamut from postpregnancy weight gain to the implications of parenting precepts for Abu Ghraib. But ultimately, for me, the best aspect of her work is its emotional complexity, as she weaves together many contradictory strands of feeling. This solo evening, part of the Rhinoceros Theater Festival, includes both Cant and 2002's What Abandon Meant. a Opens Thu 9/8, 7 PM. 9/10-10/8: Sat 7 PM. Prop Thtr, 3504 N. Elston, 773-267-6660. $15 or "pay what you can."

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