A play made up entirely of monologues can be a challenge for audiences, and John Corwin's subtle, cryptic Navy Pier is no exception. But as a character study it's absolutely riveting. In Corwin's tightly wound script, four people--two rival authors and the women who support them--attempt to untangle the network of lies shrouding the overnight success of one of the writers, a childish egomaniac. Corwin's nonlinear narrative and evenhanded intercutting of conflicting accounts often raise more questions than they answer, and the characters' slow, laborious climb toward the truth can be frustrating for viewers who are unprepared. Still, the play's premiere staging by the Wax Lips Theatre Company, where Corwin is an artistic director, enjoyed an extended run at the Strawdog and Live Bait theaters in the 1997-'98 season, winning critical acclaim and large audiences. It also caught the attention of a European producer, who helped secure a London production by the Soho Theatre Company next fall in the West End. In an effort to raise funds for that project, Wax Lips is presenting a one-night return engagement of Navy Pier, featuring some of the excellent original cast. Victory Gardens Theater, second-floor main stage, 2257 N. Lincoln, 773-525-6797. Sunday, February 21, 7:30 PM. $40 (includes postshow reception). --Nick Green
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo by Dave Brennan.