Pains of Youth | Oracle Theatre | Theater & Performance | Chicago Reader

Pains of Youth Closing (Theater and Galleries) Free The Short List (Theater)

When: Mondays, Fridays-Sundays. Continues through Oct. 13 2013

Ferdinand Bruckner's sex-fueled 1926 play, set in post-WWI Vienna, centers around a group of medical students who take things—life, youth—much too seriously. "Bourgeois existence" and "suicide" are their options, and this Oracle Productions and Odradek Theatre collaboration elicits little sympathy for their binary plight. The only performance that prods in the right places is Kevin Duvall as Freder, whose nihilism and open manipulation (he convinces the maid to become a prostitute) makes him feel more honest than all the other phonies, as another famously rebellious youth might've said. And set designer Cait Chiou's cluttered bedroom does a fine job of showing how small the world of exams and hormones can be, adding a thick layer of claustrophobia to the characters' navel-gazing. —Marissa Oberlander

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