Arts & Culture » Theater Critic's Choice

ManCard: Male Bonding Without the Glue

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As a comedy team Jesse Dienstag and Kirk Pynchon are still finding their feet: they're too alike in appearance (thin, mid-20s males), demeanor (hopeful, wary, sorry, grateful urbanites), and comedy style (kinda hip, kinda silly) to be a classic comic duo. Still, they're very funny people--energetic, with a quick, wicked wit--and they have the chemistry of two buddies struggling together through the neon wilderness. In ManCard, which they both wrote and perform, they explore the comic travails of sensitive heterosexual single men with grace, intelligence, and surprising originality. In the title sketch, for example, they create a credit card that functions like sports talk, providing instant proof of straight manhood during any kind of man-to-man encounter or gender-role crisis; here they simultaneously embody and mock het homophobia as they lampoon the general backlash-driven cult of masculinity. Another marvelous sketch translates "fuck"-filled guy talk into remarkably tender standard English. But half the fun is watching Dienstag and Pynchon dance around such charged topics as buddies' fondness for each other and the fear that their fondness might indicate something deeper. Body Politic Theatre, 2261 N. Lincoln, 528-5712. Through August 26: Fridays-Saturdays, 10:30 PM. $12.

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