My Name Is Mudd | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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My Name Is Mudd


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Playwright-director Shawn Prakash Reddy has fine-tuned his gloriously profane send-up of historical reenactments, premiered last fall at the Rhinoceros Theater Festival. Fortunately he's kept the excellent six-member ensemble and general approach, putting forth speculative half-truths and fabricating outrageous lies about John Wilkes Booth's 1865 assassination of Abraham Lincoln. Obscuring key facts about the principal figures and about the subsequent trial, Reddy proves there's an awful lot of wiggle room when it comes to history, which can easily be distorted to serve any agenda. Anchored by Guy Massey's acid portrayal of Booth as a preening ham who accentuates every syllable, Reddy's cast gleefully delivers his raucous slide show/lecture/sucker punch to the entire American educational system. That the characters arrive at a few modest epiphanies of their own is beside the point; as the grandson of the titular character observes midway through, there's no need to waste time on silly details if everyone involved is too dead to object. Athenaeum Theatre, Studio 1, 2936 N. Southport, 773-722-5463. Through April 2: Fridays, 7:30 PM; Sundays, 6 PM. $15.

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