The Empire Builders | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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The Empire Builders

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The Right Brain Project, dedicated to "lesser known pieces whether modern or classic," shows excellent taste by debuting with Boris Vian's rarely produced absurdist gem. In this vicious 1959 satire of bourgeois self-delusion, an upstanding family flee up one floor in their tenement whenever they hear a menacing, unidentifiable noise. Once resettled, they quickly forget their ascent and revel in the imagined luxury of their increasingly cramped quarters, where a mysterious bandaged figure always lurks in the corner. Designer Bryan Falcon makes Bailiwick's cozy loft theater handsomely dilapidated, but director Nathan Robbel turns the play's harrowing illogic into amusing but unthreatening strangeness. A talented cast wrongly tries to make emotional sense of the mayhem, slowing Vian's rampage to a moody crawl. Through 10/2: Fri-Sat 10 PM, Sun 7 PM. Bailiwick Repertory, Bailiwick Arts Center, 1229 W. Belmont, 773-474-2599. $5-$10.

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