Disco Pigs | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

Disco Pigs 

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DISCO PIGS, Strawdog Theatre Company. The story has been told so many times, in books like A Clockwork Orange, in movies like Sid and Nancy and Trainspotting, in fringe plays like Treatment and Shopping and Fucking. You wonder why playwrights bother telling the tale again: self-destructive, violence-prone lowlifes hang out, drink, take drugs, and confront bouncers, cops, and any other authority figure who stands in their way.

Usually these punk losers are from somewhere in the U.K. Playwright Enda Walsh stretches the genre a bit by setting his two-person play in Cork, Ireland--a variation that makes the characters' accents that much more impenetrable and provides some highbrow literary justification for Walsh's Joycean stream-of-consciousness style.

For a little more than an hour we watch two Irish kids--a guy and girl nicknamed Pig and Runt, both too prickly and hung up to admit they love each other--hurl themselves through the Irish night, going from pub to club to home for a free meal and then back out again. The secret to making this muddle work may lie in the execution. Kyle Hamman and Stacy Parker both throw themselves into their roles, and Parker is particularly powerful as Runt. But Anita Deely's staging lacks focus and texture, and Michelle Caplan's open set design--huge performing space in the middle, audience on either side--undercuts Walsh's claustrophobic script and allows the play's violence to become unthreatening noise.

--Jack Helbig

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