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Lana/Smoking 

Seminude Michelle Banks stands with her back to the audience in a black latex bustier, boa draped over her shoulders, sinuously moving her hips from side to side, punctuating each movement with a little stomp of her foot. So begins Tanya White's seamlessly written and directed Lana/Smoking, a monologue/inner dialogue on sex, sexism, racism, smoking, incest, and the politics of power as told by exotic dancer Lana. Lana smokes, dives to the floor, rolls on the floor, sits at her table drinking from a silver flask, and speaks to her audience so naturally that we seem to be eavesdropping on her very thoughts. "I am on the verge of something so immense...," she says over and over, in the inflated language of someone used to being alone, sad but resigned to her solitude, aware that no one really knows her beyond her career choice and her appearance. She tells her circuitous story in bits and pieces, aided by a spare set and Juan A. Ramirez's expert lighting. Banks is a vision possessed of an almost spectral luminosity and triumphant innocence; White's meticulous writing is a mix of everyday street parlance and poetic, even gossamer imagery. Among so many one-person shows that are pretentious, smug, cute, and thoughtless, this is the genuine article--every word counts, every action is weighted. Written in 1991 and originally performed by White as part of the Nights of the Blue Rider festival, Lana/Smoking is on the verge of its debut at this summer's Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Latino Chicago Theater Company, the Firehouse, 1625 N. Damen, 486-5120. Through August 6: Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 PM. $10.

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