Love, Honor, and Gainful Employment | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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Love, Honor, and Gainful Employment

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Splunge Productions, at Cafe Voltaire.

In A Walk in the Park a teenage girl contemplates suicide as a horde of spectral social stereotypes harass her, departing only after she confesses a shameful secret. In The Interview a timid job applicant is humiliated by a psychopathic supervisor. And in True Love a gore-splashed woman in handcuffs admits she dismembered her husband but insists she never stopped loving him.

Together these three one-acts, presented by Splunge Productions under the collective title "Love, Honor, and Gainful Employment," run a bare 45 minutes: they give the disquieting impression of having been dashed off by Marianne White (who also codirected and performs in two of the pieces) after some Splunger shouted, "Let's put on a show!" The ill-focused True Love reads like an improvisation on the theme "Lorena Bobbitt," while the climactic revelation that explains A Walk in the Park zips by so fast that you could cough once and miss it. And the sadistic interviewer/helpless interviewee scenario of The Interview is rapidly becoming the most overworked premise of the decade.

The show features competent if casual acting and direction, as well as a few nice attention-grabbing visual images. But the first-draft flimsiness of the material makes the potential of this newly formed company impossible to assess.

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