When Will the September Roses Bloom? Last Night Was Only a Comedy: A Double Performance | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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When Will the September Roses Bloom? Last Night Was Only a Comedy: A Double Performance


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Even intelligent, well-intentioned people can fail utterly. Goat Island's new 125-minute piece, created over three years, is an impenetrable monolith that numbs the mind and butt. Drawing from at least 17 sources ranging from Preston Sturges's Palm Beach Story to Paul Celan's poetry and Simone Weil's essays, the piece uses Fibonacci numbers for its structure and aims to comment on the war in Iraq, torture, and loss. The audience is encouraged to see both of its two alternate versions. But near the end of the first I seriously considered the possibility that we were to gain insight into torture by being tortured ourselves, challenged to leave prematurely but too polite to do so. Created through a byzantine process and lacking Goat Island's usual compelling movement, this intellectual exercise stymies unpacking, though it's sporadically engaging when the performers pretend to be dogs or deliver lectures on household repair and ocular oddities.

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