The Spy Was in Stitches: The Further Adventures of Secret Agent Man | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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The Spy Was in Stitches: The Further Adventures of Secret Agent Man

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The Spy Was in Stitches: The Further Adventures of Secret Agent Man,Theater Oobleck, at the Lunar Cabaret and Full Moon Cafe. Give Noam Chomsky a speedball, a sense of humor, and a penchant for the absurd and you'd have David Isaacson. His latest theatrical hurricane (part of the Rhino in Winter Festival) wraps up American international counterinsurgency, CIA-backed third-world terrorism, the GATT treaty, global capitalism, U.S. interventionism, trilateralism, and even deconstructionism in a playfully paranoid polemic. Though the Secret Agent Man was ripped to pieces in a hail of gunfire at the end of Isaacson's 1991 The Spy Threw His Voice, he's been painstakingly reassembled by the person who ordered his execution: namely Sam, the hermaphroditic "bearded lady" and self-proclaimed inventor of capitalism. During the Secret Agent Man's four-year absence, "ownership has run amok," Sam laments, resulting in the triumph of "Gingrich third-wavers" and the rise of private militias. Sam realizes that s/he needs the Secret Agent Man, the force of chaos and uncertainty, to put the world back in balance.

Oobleck's breakneck production, running just over an hour, alternates between sublime satirical subversion and impenetrable ideological mud slide. As usual Isaacson's writing bursts with ideas, which are passionately articulated by the sterling cast. But without a compelling narrative, the play inches forward even as it explodes in all directions. Think of it as a pulp sci-fi satire complete with hack ventriloquism, cheesy French accents, and lefty agitprop, and you'll be in for a treat. --Justin Hayford

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