Cowboy Mouth and 4-H Club | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

Cowboy Mouth and 4-H Club 

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Revisiting its inaugural 1986 show, Mary-Arrchie Theatre Co. remounts these early, characteristically trippy Sam Shepard one-acts in handsomely designed, well-acted, but uneven productions. For the first half of 4-H Club, a 1964 curiosity about three emotionally paralyzed men stuck in a tiny kitchen, director Hans Fleischmann expertly orchestrates the text's contrapuntal rhythms while his cast renders Shepard's hallucinatory images in fine detail. But about halfway through the actors lose focus and the script's nonlinear oddities become random. In Cowboy Mouth--Shepard's 1971 portrait of his tortured relationship with Patti Smith, here directed by Richard Cotovsky--the actors focus so tightly on the couple's drug-addled desperation that they largely overlook the lyrical, surreal elements that give the play resonance. --Justin Hayford a Through 8/5: Thu-Sat 8 PM, Sun 7 PM, Mary-Arrchie Theatre Company, Angel Island, 735 W. Sheridan, 773-871-0442, $18-$22.

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