Undergoing Therapy for the Entire World | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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Undergoing Therapy for the Entire World

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Undergoing Therapy for the Entire World, MadJoy Theatrics, at Pulaski Park. Created by its adolescent ensemble, this is less a traditional play than a jazz piece constructed as riffs on a theme: the alienation and sense of danger adolescents experience and their contradictory longings for security and independence. In one short scene, a girl spinning with out-of-control desires takes a match to a paper representation of her mother's house. Another girl talks to her dead mother's memory, alternately pleading with her to hold her close and chastising her for leaving. Then there's the girl who writes down every fact she knows on reams and reams of paper, as if that will fix reality.

The story makes little sense, but the writer-performers' feelings--the hope and despair, sometimes expressed in the same sentence--strongly convey the poetry and struggle of adolescence. Video projections, also created by teenagers in MadJoy, can be agreeably surreal, elongating or otherwise distorting the performers' images; and one pure-video piece is very clever, humorously telling the story of an argument between a mother and daughter. Two excellent musicians--Alex Purcell, who plays saxophone and clarinet, and percussionist Brendan Faloona--heighten the intensity of the theatrical riffs onstage.

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