Rage Within/Without | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Rage Within/Without

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Most of us wouldn't bother to improve on excellence, but Kathy Randels has applied new heat to her smoldering cauldron of a one-woman show and extracted pure gold. In Rage Within/Without, which premiered in Chicago in July 1991, Randels weaves together personal narratives, scholarly writings, and lyrical musings into a mesmerizing exploration of the relationship between women and violence in Western culture. Now she's also distilled away needless ambiguities and mixed in monologues based on interviews she conducted with women incarcerated for murder. Rising far above the simplistic and polarizing platitudes that usually characterize media discussions of topics like domestic abuse and date rape, Rage Within/Without refuses to provide easy answers to deeply disturbing questions. Even the woman abused beyond indignation who murders her husband--a woman we'd like to think of as "innocent," lashing out in a moment of passion--here commits her crime premeditatedly. Though Randels uses little more than her voice, a few props, and a series of simple gestures, Rage is a thrill to watch thanks to her sophisticated acting style and penchant for finding humor even in the most harrowing moments. Dangerous stuff, indeed. Don't try this at home. Chopin Theatre/At the Gallery, 1543 W. Division (lower level), 296-1875. Through April 16: Fridays-Saturdays, 8 PM. Then April 26 through May 18: Tuesdays-Wednesdays, 8 PM. $8.

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