Stave | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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"How delightful it would be if he could remain exactly as he is, while the portrait aged and withered in his stead," said the painter Basil Ward in the comment that inspired Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray. The characters in Lawrence Steger's new solo performance piece also try to stave off their inevitable ends through various poses. In Stave, a clown dressed in a white mantilla creates puppets with his hands whose fascistic dialogue espouses a world in which everyone else's imperfections but theirs will be punished; a terry-cloth-swathed rock star lounges in her dressing room and regales her visitors with pointless egotistical humor, unable to stop being "on" after the show is ended; a drag queen in a white T-shirt lip-synchs to David Bowie; a disenchanted Catholic launches into a rebellious tirade against Christ in a selection from Down Under, by the Victorian decadent J.K. Huysmans; a gangster in a dark suit hints at having murdered a fellow crook who "never talked in third peson--not cool"; and a gay poet ruminates on the suffering and despair of his dying lover--who is also his alter ego--in "Dead Lawrence," an adaptation of Jean Genet's Funeral Rites. John Darmour's selected and constructed costumes the thin, bald Steger's monklike persona in this technically slick mixture of ritual confession and sardonic neo-vaudeville. Club Lower Links, through November 30 (954 W. Newport, 248-5238). Saturdays, 9 PM. $7.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Harvey Ball.

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