The Art of Unbearable Sensations Closing (Theater and Galleries) Member Picks Recommended The Short List (Theater)

When: Saturdays. Continues through Feb. 28 2009

This cunning, bittersweet piece--comprising monologues delivered by a quartet of sideshow freaks, who use Barnumesque razzle-dazzle to avoid facing troubled, fraudulent lives--proves once again that Curious Theatre Branch's Shawn Reddy is a total man of the theater. He wrote, directed, designed, and built it. Reddy's characters are prone to semi-surreal flights of fancy. Spiritualist Madame Petrovna, for instance, dreams of murdering the mother who abandoned her in infancy by crushing her with rotten "speckled pears" loaded in a bassinet. These beguiling flourishes underscore the emptiness of lives reduced to marketable quirks. Reddy pushes four veteran stars of the Chicago fringe--Diana Slickman, Kathleen Powers, Guy Massey, and H.B. Ward--well beyond their comfort zones, giving the evening an edgy immediacy. Part of the Rhinoceros Theater Festival. --Justin Hayford

Price: $15 or pay what you can

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