Petitmal | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Stephen Fiehn and Tyler B. Myers, who perform together as Cupola Bobber, premiered this piece at last year's PAC/edge Festival, then remounted it in September in a short run at Link's Hall. Petitmal draws heavily on the sort of endurance art that pioneers like Linda Montano explored; as in one of her early works, Fiehn and Myers spend a chunk of this 80-minute show running on treadmills and delivering texts, in this case from a variety of sources, notably Kevin Bacon's rhapsodic paean to dance in Footloose, which they repeat several times. (The film's final scene makes a cameo appearance near the end too.) The piece is chockablock with images suggesting both the futility and joy of daily existence: doodles of empty rooms are drawn on overhead transparencies that are then projected onto three scrims, and a spelling bee includes such words as "anxious," "bored," and "appetite." The physical repetitiveness may wear on some viewers, but the performers' palpable intelligence and understated wit make Petitmal work beautifully much of the time. Opens Fri 3/11, 7 PM. Through 3/20: Sat 4:30 PM, Sun 5:30 PM. Studio 2, $15.

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