Breakbone DanceCo. | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Breakbone DanceCo. 

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Breakbone artistic director Atalee Judy reins herself in a bit in her new "noise opera" Heroine--A Woman's Tale, about survivors of abuse. Performed in the intimate Strawdog Theatre space, it has none of Judy's trademark "bodyslam" movement, which basically involves hurling yourself to the floor, then getting up and doing it again. Instead the dancing is mostly light, loose, and floaty. The cast has also been downsized from Breakbone's last few shows: two dancers in pale, flimsy gowns that barely cover them represent the vulnerable heroine/victim, and two vocalists encased in heavy black suits and shoes are the witnesses to her suffering. One holds a Raggedy Ann-style doll, the other a stuffed horse, both stand-ins for idealized parents--the doll sings, "I am here when you are hurt and small / I'm at your beck and call." Using only one set piece, a casketlike open box, Heroine packs a lot into a small space, creating a sort of chamber opera in which S:cage's recorded electronic music (from the album Remote) is a backdrop for Judy's and Berianne Bramman's live vocals. Ann Filmer aids in the direction, and Carl Wiedemann provides video. Opens Thu 3/2, 8 PM. Through 3/18: Thu-Sat, 8 PM, Strawdog Theatre Company, 3829 N. Broadway, 773-841-2663, $12-$15.

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

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