Sandalwood | McKaw Theater | Theater & Performance | Chicago Reader

Sandalwood The Short List (Theater) Image Closing (Theater and Galleries)

When: Thursdays-Sundays. Continues through April 20 2014

Dan Caffrey's episodic new play works a dark, dark variation on the Pinocchio story. Set in the old west, it follows a brooding carpenter as he searches for his "son": a puppet who's not only run away but gone rogue. Knocking up girls and carrying out massacres are what make this piece of wood feel like a real boy. Caffrey raises disquieting questions about what it means to be human—and (especially in light of recent public comments by the father of Sandy Hook murderer Adam Lanza) provocative ones about the provenance of evil. But Aaron Henrickson's production for Tympanic Theatre comes across as ponderous, largely because of a self-consciously allegorical approach that all but ignores the characters' motives. I'd like to know a lot more, for instance, about what drives the carpenter; as things stand, he's a cipher who nevertheless has to carry the story. Ironically, the 80-minute show only comes alive when Anthony Stamilo is onstage playing the dangerous but endearing son. —Tony Adler

Price: $15-$20

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