A Small Fire | Steep Theatre | Theater & Performance | Chicago Reader
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click to enlarge Melissa Riemer and Julia Siple in A Small Fire

Melissa Riemer and Julia Siple in A Small Fire

Lee Miller

When: Thursdays-Saturdays. Continues through Aug. 16 2014
Price: $20-$22
Adam Bock's 2010 play has the purity of a biblical parable. When we first meet her, Emily Bridges is a bossy, abrasive know-it-all of the infuriating type that actually does know it all. And she runs her personal relationships on the same blunt terms that she runs her construction business. But one day she finds she can't smell the smoke from a small kitchen fire. Then she loses her ability to taste food. Then she goes blind. Then, deaf. In quick order, the proud autocrat becomes profoundly helpless. As performed by Melissa Riemer under Joanie Schultz's direction, Emily takes it all with midwestern stoicism. There's an implausible constraint to her Job-like decline—perhaps even stranger, a primness. Riemer maintains her modesty, absurdly, by wearing a bra and slip beneath her nightgown; a crucial passage of intimacy between her and her husband is almost comically quick and discreet when it should crack everything wide open. —Tony Adler
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