Show Your Face! | Museum of Contemporary Art | Theater & Performance | Chicago Reader

Show Your Face! The Short List (Theater) Recommended Critics' Picks Closing (Theater and Galleries) Brief Run (Theater)

When: Jan. 14-16 2011

We know the ending at the outset. There's been an explosion. Bits of a man's body have been found scattered along a lonely road. Miraculously, his wallet survived intact, but everything in it is either stolen or forged. There are no fingerprints left to be recovered. The bulk of this hour-long performance piece--a collaboration between two eastern European ensembles, Betontanc and Umka LV--retraces the steps by which the dead man, whoever he is, reached his final moment. That narrative is noir by way of Kafka. Our nameless hero is a normal guy who watches soccer in the summer and sees theater in the winter. His only idiosyncrasy is a habit of taking long, aimless walks, even though they make him feel "lost, not only within the city but in himself." One day he receives a phone call from someone he doesn't know, telling him to run--and soon enough he's running, who knows why. Along the way he encounters intrigues, tight spots, political violence, the heavy hand of an authoritarian state, and, of course, a woman. All of this might come across as standard thriller material except that the central character is portrayed by a toddler's winter onesie--quilted and powder blue, with attached feet and a furry white fringe around the hood. Animated, voiced, and interacted with by a small platoon of human performers, the onesie is comical to start, but so beautifully manipulated and invested with such profound humanity that it becomes compelling in short order. We go along on his journey, and when we reach the climax--which is a surprise despite what we know--there's a small explosion within us as well. Performed in English. --Tony Adler

Price: $10-$28

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