Arts & Culture » Theater Critic's Choice

No One Goes Mad...From Writings of the "Insane"

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The brainchild of writer-director Dan Sauer and performance artist David Hauptschein, No One Goes Mad is one of those rare hybrids of theater and performance that displays the strengths of each. Structured as a series of monologues and group scenes, this evening of "outsider" writings, most of them culled from In the Realm of the Unreal, an anthology of the writings of the insane edited by John G.H. Oakes, is, thanks in large part to Sauer's fine ten-member cast, both accessible and daring, polished and spontaneous, coherent and uninhibited. The show contains writings from such well-known outsider artists as Heinrich Muller and Adolf Wolfli--including a selection of Adolf Wolfli's notorious 25,000 page "fanciful autobiography." There's also some work from more obscure writers--Mary Rand, Mary MacLane, and Karoselle Washington--including an exquisite "found" rant, collected by David Hauptschein, in which its paranoid author argues: "Bob Hope is violently insane...and interferes with normal thinking." A line later she adds, "The FBI told me they were investigating." Such moments of absurd comedy help lighten the show and keep it from becoming too pretentious. Still, it is Mary MacLane's transcendent and beautiful writings, peppered throughout the evening, that make this show more than just a collection of interesting writings. When actress Ann Jennings delivers MacLane's lines near the end of the show--"I am merely and above all a creature of intense passionate feeling. I feel-everything. It is my genius. It burns me like fire"--you know you are in the presence of divine madness. Neo-Futurarium, 5153 N. Ashland, 769-6136. Through August 14. Thursdays-Saturdays, 8:30 PM. $8.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Phil Lortie.

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