Boys' Life | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

Boys' Life 

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BOYS' LIFE, Sleeping Dog Theatre Company, at the Neo-Futurarium. Howard Korder's misogyny has never been clearer than in this 1988 comedy, which divides the world into boys and bitches and pretends to be a critique of aimless, immature white males even as it revels in them. Boys, after all, just wanna have fun. It's those bitches who keep bringing us down with such trivialities as the need for faithfulness, family, and a sense of purpose.

Korder, talented writer that he is, wraps his reactionary message in a witty, lively script. Presenting us with three friends, he shows us, in nine scenes, how they're victimized by the women in their lives. Phil falls for someone who tells him she's frigid and then enthusiastically boinks other guys. Don dates a humorless, aggressive woman (played with great comic facility by Carla DeLio) who first breaks his spirit, then puts the bit in his mouth and corrals him into marriage. Even Jack, who's searching for the right woman to have an adulterous affair with, turns out to be utterly emasculated by his wife, a working mom who's mastered both sides of the Ward-June dialectic: she's not only the family breadwinner apparently Jack is unemployed but a major-league passive-aggressive manipulator.

Director Brendan Hunt has made so many great choices, both in staging and casting--Michael Nanfria is particularly appealing as the witty asshole Jack--that he almost obscures Korder's loathsome message.


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