The Living Canvas 2005 | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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The Living Canvas 2005

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Onstage nudity has the potential to deliver a wallop, to convey everything from sexuality and power to vulnerability and humiliation. But photographer Pete Guither's latest show, in which seven performers are all naked all the time, has a nudist-camp sensibility, essentially stripping stripping of its power. Projecting patterns and images onto the performers' mostly hairless, fatless, uniformly young bodies, Guither reduces them to a soft, rather lumpy backdrop. Best are the segments in which the lighting is natural, emphasizing the unique plushy look of human flesh, or in which the patterns are so dense that the sense of naked bodies almost disappears. But cutesy sequences on cats and swimming left me cold, and a segment near the end critiquing war fell way flat: you can't use nudity to suggest degradation and oppression when you've already made it the status quo. Through 8/28: Fri 8:30 PM, Sat 7 and 9 PM, Sun 3:30 PM. Victory Gardens Theater, first-floor studio, 2257 N. Lincoln, 773-871-3000. $15-$20.

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