If you saw only one show during the Cook County Theatre Department's five-year stint in the South Loop, you wouldn't have forgotten Vicki Walden, the driest, most sophisticated member of that dry, sophisticated troupe. She could hold an audience captive by staring deadpan for an hour or prattling on about nothing in particular--two things Cook County members did with some regularity. When that company closed its doors a couple years ago, it seemed that Walden might simply drift, her mega-minimal style sadly irrelevant in a city of over-the-top acting. But luckily she's fallen in with Lucky Pierre, one of the more inventive, unconventional, and understated performance groups in town, with its own tradition of deadpan stares and endless prattling: eschewing traditional acting in favor of physical tasks puts Walden right at home. In Lucky Pierre's new piece, Movie Stars Live Here, Walden serves as a kind of narrator, standing just outside the faux movie screen that frames the action. Meanwhile, with their trademark evocative swirl of bits and pieces, the Lucky ones expose golden-era Hollywood as an instrument of American colonialism. Intelligent, demanding, playful, and completely untried, this piece is a fitting conclusion to the Rhinoceros Theater Festival. Lunar Cabaret, 2827 N. Lincoln, 773-327-6666. Friday, October 1, 8 PM. $10 or "pay what you can." --Justin Hayford
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Jason Greenberg.