The Monogamist | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

Arts & Culture » Performing Arts Review

The Monogamist

by

Sign up for our newsletters Subscribe

comment

The Monogamist, Dark Night Theatrical Productions, at the Performance Loft. It's hard to give a damn about the self-absorbed title character of this cautionary 1991 comedy: Dennis, a morbidly analytical poet and navel gazer, is little more than a clay pigeon for playwright Christopher Kyle. After Dennis writes a book about the virtues of monogamy, he's two-timed by his wife, a feminist professor who also has precious little inner life. So Dennis beds Sky, a coed no older than his wife's boy toy, then decides to tape his life as grist for his artistic mill, ultimately lousing up life and art. It seems his next book will be called "The Celibate."

Kyle means to contrast Dennis's generation, still hoping to commit to a cause, with Sky's, which never had one. But Dennis is so unspontaneous and clueless about his own feelings, let alone anyone else's, that his search seems purely hypothetical. In James Bagnall's staging, Dennis's identity crisis seems more appropriate for a sitcom pilot than an evening of searching theater, and the actors' similar ages make establishing a generation gap difficult at best. Michael Carroll as Dennis fails to convey the charm that might explain why these women put up with him; Joanne Maurno in the half-baked role of the alienated wife works overtime to look interested in him. But Emi Clark brings a saving pluck to Kyle's neohippie nympho, the latest recycling of the Dumb Dora stereotype. A creature of its time, The Monogamist has even less to say today than it did a decade ago.

Add a comment