Offspring of the Cold War | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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Offspring of the Cold War

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Offspring of the Cold War, Walkabout Theater Company, at TimeLine Theatre Company. A neighbor, Miranda, knocks on slacker Marcus's door at seven in the morning, proffering the flimsiest of excuses. The two chat about their odd families while eating pomegranates--the only food Marcus has--until they discover that donning certain items of antique clothing from Marcus's armoire sends them into a time warp: Marcus turns into a 19th-century capitalist with a bondage fetish while Miranda becomes his dominatrix. When the two inexplicably return to the present, their only response is "That was really fucking cool."

Playwright Carlos Murillo's opening scene contains little recognizably human behavior, and the implausibilities continue to mount over the nearly three hours of this world premiere. Marcus and Miranda become obsessed with journeying into the past--alternately ending up in melodramas or Carol Burnett sketches--for the sole purpose of constructing a family tree for the strangers they inhabit. The rules governing their travel change continually, and neither character bats an eye when Marcus's apartment splits in half to reveal something like the gates of hell.

Beneath all the tortured improbabilities is a family saga of multigenerational dysfunction that might be worth salvaging. But as it stands, director Lisa Portes's collegiate staging does little to give this fledgling script the life it desperately needs.

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