Jobey and Katherine | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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Jobey and Katherine

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JOBEY AND KATHERINE, Neo-Futurists. Greg Kotis's play has all the characteristic motifs of the 19th-century neogothic romance--the ghost of a drowned sailor who returns to claim his sweetheart, the notion of death as the ultimate lovers' reunion, a monologue describing in meticulous detail the sensation of being eaten by fish. But playwright-director-performer Kotis strikes down the hallmarks of the genre as fast as he sets them up, drawing upon an arsenal of Brechtian distancing devices, including an illuminated sign that flashes "Essential Exposition" at appropriate moments.

Set in a factory town where the factory owner senses his employees' need for some spiritual purpose, the play has at its core a pseudoreligion based on corporate values--the Word is manifested in material property, the owner's office on the 12th floor represents the Right Hand of God, etc. So pervasive is the lure of this capitalist creed that Jobey, the lovesick salt, must destroy it before his Katherine is content to leave it behind.

The four Neo-Futurist cast members navigate the abrupt changes in mood and direction of the labyrinthine text with the agility we've come to expect from players whose training includes the snapshot gallery of Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind. Any whiplash we may suffer in trying to follow them is more than redeemed by the quirky charm with which we're steered.

--Mary Shen Barnidge

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