Bars and Measures | Prop Thtr | Theater & Performance | Chicago Reader
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click to enlarge Vahishta Vafadari and Anthony Conway

Vahishta Vafadari and Anthony Conway

Candice Lee Connor

When: Fridays-Sundays. Continues through July 17 2016
Price: $15
Troubled jazz bassist Bilal thrives off chaos, while his rock-steady classical pianist brother Eric craves order. Playwright Idris Goodwin tries to squeeze two epic battles from their fraught rivalry. The first concerns their efforts to turn common musical ground into a brotherly demilitarized zone, and the second concerns Bilal’s possible involvement in terrorism and Eric’s struggle to believe his brother’s innocent. It’s potent stuff, even with Goodwin’s reductive musicology and undervetted plotting (Bilal’s a federal detainee yet spends regular time with Eric inventing jazz riffs in an ill-defined prison room), but in only 70 minutes neither story is adequately developed; the evening feels like a highlights reel. Still, director Tara Branham coaxes nuanced, satisfying performances from Osiris Khepera and Anthony Conway as the warring brothers. —Justin Hayford

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