WHEN PROFANITY FAILS, Box Theatre Group, at Frankie J's MethaDome Theater. The six women in this troupe met as students at Columbia College a couple of years ago, and the topics in their solo performance sampler often reflect the concerns of late adolescence and early adulthood: sexuality, the search for meaningful work, evolving relationships with parents.
Staged modestly on the tiny Frankie J's stage by director Katy Jones, the monologues lack polish at times. But at their best these women display the honesty, wit, and self-deprecating charm of the Sweat Girls, who've been entertaining Chicagoans for ten years. Box Theatre Group, however, is a more diverse bunch. In "Concupiscence" Tonika Todorova recounts her isolation as the child of a single mother in Soviet-bloc Bulgaria. In "The 'D' Word" Jenna Dalgety combines an awkward coming-out confession at an all-night diner with an onstage transformation into a stylish drag king. And in "Dead Chicken" Soo Jin Park cleverly blends commentary on the M*A*S*H version of the Korean war with harrowing memories of a holdup at her parents' grocery store.
Even at this relatively early stage of their careers, all six have developed distinctive voices as writers, eschewing cliches for well-honed, evocative details. What they need now is to develop a bit more confidence as performers.