The Unfinished Works of Sir Linear Scribble | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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The Unfinished Works of Sir Linear Scribble



The Unfinished Works of Sir Linear Scribble, Neo-Futurists and Hope and Nonthings, at the Neo-Futurarium. Playwright John Pierson has so many facets that even his alter egos have alter egos. In this piece Pierson adopts the pseudonym "Ian Pierce" as the playwright, eccentric author Sir Linear Scribble acts as Pierce's stand-in, and Pierson himself plays the title role. This blurring of identities creates quite a bit of confusion. But that's a calculated move on Pierson's part: even at their most raw and chaotic, his works are almost mathematically precise.

Plot and narrative are tangential; as the title suggests, this is an unfinished work, with otherwise unrelated comic sketches tied together mainly by the presence of Sir Linear Scribble. As a production, though, The Unfinished Works of Sir Linear Scribble has a very clear anchor: a fantastic ten-member ensemble comprised of Neo-Futurist stalwarts like Anita Loomis and a handful of other gifted actors like Factory vet Matt O'Neill.

Even when the script lacks shape, this meditation on writer's block and the nature of unfinished work is potent. Like James Joyce and Laurence Sterne, Pierson is determined to fashion dense, cryptic works that confound as much as they enlighten us. The sum of this play isn't nearly as important or exciting as its parts--and that's clearly Pierson's intent.

--Nick Green

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