The Oldest Profession | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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The Oldest Profession

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Playwright Paula Vogel ties American economics to the circumstances of five aging prostitutes in a play set on the Upper West Side from 1980 to 1984: each character represents a different era of capitalism. Through the stories of these free-market entrepreneurs and their dwindling clientele, we see simple barter give way to corporate speculation and, finally, ill-advised radicalization. Vogel's political analysis is arguable, but there's no denying the opportunities her play offers to actresses of a certain age. Those here, directed by David Zak, pay ample homage to their characters' venerable trade in a medley of vintage burlesque ballads, delivered with heartbreaking sincerity. --Mary Shen Barnidge a Through 2/25: Thu 8 PM, Sat 7 PM, Sun 3 PM, Bailiwick Repertory, Bailiwick Arts Center, 1229 W. Belmont, 773-883-1090, $25.

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