The Method | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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The Method


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THE METHOD, Emerging Artists Project, at Cafe Voltaire. Karin Shook's mildly amusing, gentle satire takes aim at a very easy target--the excesses of a dim-witted, touchy-feely director and his cast of two codependent actresses--but fails to hit the bull's-eye. This hour's worth of shallow sitcom jokes about relaxation exercises, encounter groups, rebirthing classes, bad poetry readings, and new-age psychology only skirts the issues. Shook never, for example, goes very deep into the sadomasochist relationship the controlling director Omar has with the two unassertive women. Nor does she have much to say about Prudence's zealous, misanthropic feminism, except that she's obsessed with menstrual blood. Even the play's most interesting wrinkle--Phoebe is a vampire--is never fully exploited. Shook is content to make a few glib jokes about vampirism--Phoebe insists it's just another life-style choice--without delving into the deeper, darker psychosexual issues hinted at in Virginia Mohlere's wonderful performance. (Mohlere's transformation from a shy, self-effacing actress into a seductive, assertive vampire is marvelous to watch; it's one of the highlights of the play.) In the end Shook has a lot of trouble justifying her decision to stretch what would have made an interesting quarter-hour comedy into a rather long one-act.

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