Between Doors | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

Between Doors 

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BETWEEN DOORS, Ravenous Productions, at the Athenaeum Theatre, through March 24. This trio of pieces curated by Joseph Ravens focuses on identity, transience, and stasis, with limited success. In the title piece, inspired in part by Charles Ludlam's The Mystery of Irma Vep, Ravens creates a challenging premise and set for his cast of five. Two doors separated by a raked corridor serve as the backdrop for tantalizing snatches of dialogue and movement and Jorge Hohagen's engaging monologue about the secrets behind a tenant's door in his childhood home in Peru. But the cast lacks the vocal and physical variety to make this piece hit on all cylinders, and the farcical device wears thin.

Ravens's solo, Ravenous, is based on the myth of a greedy white raven turned black by Apollo as punishment for its gluttony. Ravens has carefully choreographed his own stark movements, and he has an impressive stage presence. But his text doesn't tell us much about ravens or Ravens, except that both are ravenous.

The evening concludes with Set for Two, created and performed by Petra Poul Bachmaier and Sean Gallero. Opening with a winsome music-box ballet to "Over the Rainbow," it moves into dialogue from Waiting for Godot, cleverly suggesting a link between Dorothy's longing for adventure and Didi and Gogo's inability to leave. But again the performers don't have the skills to do credit to the language. (Jennifer Verson, Lara Oppenheimer, and Ashley Smith present performance pieces in "Beyond Doors," which follows this show.)

--Kerry Reid

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