Lotta Melin and Shrika Urechko | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Lotta Melin and Shrika Urechko

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Anyone who believes that folks from the northland are reserved or conventional should see Shirka Urechko's 50-minute multimedia atavistic solo Pineappleheartofgoldpeacocks. Born in Flin Flon, Manitoba, to Ukrainian parents, Urechko has created a video backdrop for this piece that shows rippling water and a naked woman wallowing in mud; later, in a close-up, some black substance oozes from her mouth. Onstage, a nearly nude Urechko proceeds to viciously core a pineapple, then chews some pieces and cuts the rest of the fruit into rings, which she rubs over her body. This first section has the melodrama and jerky, spasmodic motions of a silent film; in the second, Urechko struts about with two large fans of peacock feathers placed strategically about her body, looking like a 21st-century Sally Rand. Perhaps this piece is a feminist parable about working through one's rage and through male visions of female beauty to find a real sense of self; certainly Urechko's repetitive, almost monotonous choreography evinces an evolution from anxiety to peace. Or perhaps Urechko has simply taken to heart Rand's reported comment on her own career in burlesque: "I haven't been out of work since the day I took my pants off." Urechko will perform Pineappleheartofgoldpeacocks this Sunday only; Friday and Saturday she'll present Mu, a solo from the point of view of a geisha, sharing the program with Swedish dancer Lotta Melin (whose work I was unable to preview) improvising to music by Terri Kapsalis, Fred Lonberg-Holm, and Michael Zerang. Link's Hall, 3435 N. Sheffield, 773-281-0824. Through April 1: Friday-Saturday, 8 PM; Sunday, 7 PM. $10. Next weekend Urechko will perform her solo Stronster as part of PANG, Free Street's "Producing Artists for a New Generation" program. Pulaski Park, 1419 W. Blackhawk, 773-772-7248. Through April 7: Friday-Saturday, 8 PM. $10, $5 for students or "pay what you can." Note: Urechko will offer a workshop Saturday, April 7, at 11 AM at Pulaski Park; call 773-772-7248.

--Laura Molzahn

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Gudrun Edel-Rosnes.

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