Blue Eyes. Black Hair | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Blue Eyes. Black Hair 

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The language of sensuality, the sensuality of language--French writer Marguerite Duras has mastered both. She pulls at the boundaries of erotica and art, revealing everything about the sexual act while hinting at it in the most minimal terms. When her fiction and essays are read aloud they take on an added intensity, as demonstrated by Northwestern University's production, Blue Eyes, Black Hair. If the actors performed some of the acts Duras describes, this would be an X-rated performance. But this production, adapted and directed by Frank Galati, is more of an intellectual game. It's rich and sensuous, yet at the same time it provokes musings on the nature of writing, performing, and lovemaking. While its subjects may have universal appeal, this show is of special interest to anyone into French intellectualism, literature, or cinema. It's about 20 minutes too long, a problem that becomes accutely apparent when Duras' language comes to what seems a conclusion while the production keeps moving forward. Ashley Smith's surreal set, lit by John A. Miller, could double as an installation at the Pompidou Centre. You almost expect the wind to blow in off the sea. Northwestern University Theatre and Interpretation Center, Ethel M. Barber Theatre, 1979 South Campus Drive, Evanston, 708-491-7282. Through February 21: Thursday-Saturday, 8 PM; Sunday, 2 PM. $10.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Mary Hanlon.

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