Some Strange, Dirtybowl Productions, at Stage Left Theatre. Like many young playwrights, Jason Walter-Tinker hasn't yet grasped the concept of editing himself. And like many twentysomethings on Chicago's theater scene, he's yet to realize just how tough it is to translate the postcollegiate experience to the stage, though a recent production of John Boston's Ramblers proved that it's possible to offer a refreshing, humorous perspective on this world of loose morals and soul-sucking jobs.
Unfortunately, the same can't be said of Some Strange, which is emblematic of just about everything that's wrong with this type of theater. The script is horribly contrived, and Walter-Tinker relies on shock value to prove that his characters--among them a libidinous slob, a repressed average joe, and a self-involved jerk--are anything more than hopelessly banal. A handful of unrealistic simulated sex scenes doesn't help. And the characters' stilted, "gritty" movie-speak only proves that Tinker set out to ape Quentin Tarantino--and failed.
The actors do their best to give this lightweight script some heft. But Some Strange is in need of a major overhaul, eliminating the playwright's misogyny, pompous philosophical musings, and transparent attempts at pathos. Of course, that wouldn't leave anything but grating techno music. Still, it would be a start.