Truck in Pieces | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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Truck in Pieces

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Truck in Pieces, Curious Theatre Branch, at the Lunar Cabaret. Notwithstanding its central character's mantra--"I'm not going anywhere; where'm I gonna go?"--Beau O'Reilly's new play tells the story of a journey. O'Reilly's Bloom, like Joyce's before him, spends a long day traveling on the fringes of the urban landscape as he struggles to square his memories with the present. And though every detail resonates with Ulysses, the play also stands on its own as a character study of "Truck" Bloom, a never-was boxer in midcentury Chicago. Between efforts to reconcile with his ex-wife, bail out his son, and protect some puppies, this mensch masquerading as a thug (O'Reilly himself in a perfect performance that earns sympathy without ever begging for it) relives encounters with his father, his "jag-off" brother, and Joey Buzz, a hero of his youth.

These three, and many others, are played by the spectacular Guy Massey, whose ability to create a whole new character out of a slight shift in stance makes costume changes almost superfluous. Likewise, he gives boxing such a homoerotic charge that the play's explicitly gay encounter seems unnecessary. Despite a few such wrong turns, Truck in Pieces portrays the search for redemption with great warmth and depth. Some clever devices enhance the bare-bones production, such as beer bottles that clink themselves and blackboard walls on which Sue Cargill (playing ex-wife Rita) cartoons illustrations of the action.

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