Polaroid Stories | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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Polaroid Stories


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Polaroid Stories, Flush Puppy Productions, at Prop Thtr. Naomi Iizuka's nihilistic postmodern interpretation of Ovid's Metamorphoses revolves around the shattered lives of runaways--speed freaks and gutter punks. In her middle-American nightmare, the short, sharp fragments of these disparate tales--based on interviews Iizuka conducted with homeless teens in the mid-90s--are harrowing and hopeless. Because her subjects have fallen so far through the cracks of society, they don't even have identities, a plight she dramatizes by drawing parallels to some of the wayward souls of Greek mythology.

Polaroid Stories is a tough nut: the individual episodes don't so much come together as fall apart, and there's an epic feel to the proceedings that doesn't mesh with the characters' incredibly myopic worldviews. While Trap Door circumvented the script's flaws a few years ago by acting the stuffing out of it, Flush Puppy Productions takes another route, creating a unique environment that sucks you into the piece. Piles of trash and found objects fill the stage and flow into the lobby, and Barry Bennett's original score conveys a palpable air of menace. But mostly director Joanie Schultz affirms the play's value by tracing genuine human connections; her subtle, almost balletic staging brings sweat and dirt and blood to an otherwise impassive script.

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