Fantasy Island for Dummies | Trap Door Theatre | Theater & Performance | Chicago Reader
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Courtesy Trap Door Theatre

When: Thursdays-Saturdays. Continues through Nov. 5 2016
Price: $20-$25
For her new music-theater piece, iconoclastic playwright Ruth Margraff begins with a story line from a 1980 episode of Fantasy Island in which Annette Funicello plays a ventriloquist with a domineering dummy, then interpolates hymns to the highly sexual Babylonian goddess Inanna and sections from 50-year-old home-ec magazine Party Perfect. The piece spends 70 minutes investigating the problematization of female desire in a male-dominated society, but the results of the investigation are far from clear—Margraff’s intentionally fractured narrative lacks structural cohesion, and too often significance is imposed on the material rather than allowed to emerge organically. Director Kate Hendrickson packs it all into an uncharacteristically fussy production. It’s the rare Trap Door show that can’t manage its own ambiguity. —Justin Hayford



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