Parallel Lives | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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Parallel Lives

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Parallel Lives, Euphemism Here Productions, at the Space. Kathy Najimy and Mo Gaffney's series of sketches about the conundrums of being female in a sexist world might have been groundbreaking in 1986, when it was first produced. But today a lot of its material--bulimia, religious guilt, periods, bad boyfriends--feels dated.

Still, the three women performing in Euphemism Here's revival--Laura Ciresi, Diane M. Honeyman, and Jenn Remke--attack the scenes with gusto, heart, and respect. They also take turns directing. One wishes they'd been willing to cut the more repetitious moments--things begin to drag, particularly in the second act. But there are still some bits that pack a wallop. I particularly enjoyed "Mrs. Kenny Rogers," in which a woman bent on marriage to the titular country star--or indeed anyone who'll croon comfortingly to her for the rest of her days--encounters a street prostitute. The parallels between the more direct form of sexual commerce and women grooming themselves for marriage ("I'll be strong--in a weak and nonthreatening kind of way," promises the wannabe bride) still feel fresh, funny, and truthful.

On the night I attended, the audience included several girls who couldn't have been born when the show first made a splash. Its message may be overly familiar to older feminists, but it did hit home with the younger set as they discovered it for themselves.

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