Nautilina | Den Theatre | Theater & Performance | Chicago Reader

Nautilina Closing (Theater and Galleries) Recommended The Short List (Theater) Image

When: Thursdays-Sundays. Continues through July 16 2017

For this environmental, immersive program of intersecting monologues and vignettes, the adventurous Agency Theater Collective has taken over a raw black-box space at the Den Theatre in Wicker Park and transformed it into a dumpy bar called Finnegan's. Audience members sit at tables and booths, sometimes joined by the actors as they deliver their stream-of-consciousness reflections, reminiscences, and rants. Is the faux tavern's name a reference to James Joyce's novel Finnegans Wake? I don't know, but certainly the absurd, sometimes profane, sometimes funny, and sometimes downright mystifying soliloquies evoke a dreamlike experience as the characters try to escape from their emotional shells (thus, I suppose, the show's title reference to shelled sea creatures). In one sequence, a man lewdly propositions a woman at the bar, then disrobes in escalating frustration as she ignores him. Later, the same woman explodes about her job monitoring hundreds of hours' worth of EDM for possibly offensive (and therefore exciting) content. A man recalls a moment of existential awareness on a late-night el ride; a woman shares her horror at having watched a flock of pigeons cannibalize one of their own; a young soldier in combat records his final moments on video for his wife before being shot; an older man recalls his father's admonition that "boys don't cry" as they watched his mother's funeral; and an estranged heterosexual couple confront their mutual attraction—even addiction—as they reconnect. Written by Brian Foster, the well-acted production is codirected by Sommer Austin and Anna Lucero, who are also known as the comedy duo Austero. —Albert Williams

Price: $24

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