My Foot Left | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

My Foot Left, at WNEP Theater. Almost 15 years ago, when playwright Kenan Derson was 15, a doctor amputated his left leg below the knee because he had cancer. In this quirky, uneven 80-minute one-man show, directed by Cholley Kuhaneck, Derson looks at the moment when he learned what would happen and describes what life has been like for him since. (Profits from the show will be donated to Gilda's Club Chicago and the Ronald McDonald House of Rochester, Minnesota, near the Mayo Clinic--two places that helped rescue Derson emotionally.)

My Foot Left certainly has some clever moments, especially when Derson explores the idea of himself as action figure--TV's bionic man with cooler accessories. But the piece seems to be targeted toward a school audience. Most of it is informational, as Derson shows us some of the different prostheses he's used, explains how amputation is done, and describes how he gets around in the morning before his leg is strapped on. There are too many voice-overs interrupting the monologue, and Derson usually shies away from an in-depth exploration of his feelings about living without a leg. He also doesn't give us much other information about himself, which ironically reduces him at times to the very thing that's missing--his left foot. However, some of the funny, poignant stuff here--like the anecdote about Derson and a friend with cancer hoodwinking a fast-food manager--could be further developed.

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