The Inexplicable Pastrana | Raven Theatre | Theater & Performance | Chicago Reader

The Inexplicable Pastrana Member Picks The Short List (Theater) Closing (Theater and Galleries)

When: Thursdays-Sundays. Continues through Nov. 17 2013

It's Julia Pastrana season off-Loop. In September Tympanic Theatre Company presented Shaun Prendergast's dutiful, truncated biography of the much-abused 19th-century "bearded lady," exhibited as a singing-and-dancing monster in life, toured as a taxidermy specimen in death. Now Colectivo El Pozo offers Raul Dorantes's ambitious dance/theater piece chronicling her entire life, from bucolic Mexican childhood to celebrity-freak intercontinental adulthood to final interment earlier this year. Director Joel Valentin-Martinez stages the dark, poetic travelogue as a series of stark tableaux as two-dimensional as most of the cast's performances. Dorantes's language is vivid, as is the uncredited choreography (performers simply lay hands on an actress's face to evoke Pastrana's deformities). But the storytelling reduces a complicated life to easy moral lessons. —Justin Hayford

Price: $10-$20