The Balcony | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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In Jean Genet's 1956 play, the brothel customers who pretend to be bishops, judges, and generals at Madame Irma's "House of Illusions" end up replacing their real-world counterparts and the public is none the wiser--a shocking idea 50 years ago. Genet's play takes longer than necessary to make its point, but the irony of this TinFish Theatre production is that directors Jon Frazier and Dan May render the playwright's commentary on politics and commerce accessible by adding more words--specifically, by restoring scenes excised from the definitive Grove Press edition. The actors heft their heavyweight dialogue with declamatory gusto, and their industry generates sufficient momentum to ensure the dramatic progress of this still timely warning against leadership based on popular images. Through 3/6: Thu-Sat 8:15 PM, Sun 3:15 PM. Theatre Building Chicago, 1225 W. Belmont, 773-327-5252. $25.

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