Rung | Prop Thtr | Theater & Performance | Chicago Reader

Rung Closing (Theater and Galleries) Member Picks The Short List (Theater)

When: Fridays-Sundays. Continues through June 29 2014

Curious Theatre Branch's stab at Matt Test's first opera, about a semipsychotic recluse's 168th attempt to build a body for the voice in his head, showcases Test's thrilling compositional skills—and little else. Director Kristin Davis's visually cluttered production strands everyone (the recluse and a chorus of four singers) in an awkward limbo where they don't relate meaningfully to the material, one another, or the audience. And Test struggles to develop his initial ideas, introducing so many new ones across two hours that it's difficult to discern what the end has to do with the beginning. But Test's score—filled with jarring yet inevitable progressions through harmonics and intervals as daring as Britten's or Sondheim's—consistently dazzles, a feat particularly impressive for a self-taught banjo player who until recently couldn't read music. —Justin Hayford

Price: $15 or pay what you can at the door, $12 in advance

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