Floating Rhoda and the Glue Man | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

Floating Rhoda and the Glue Man 

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FLOATING RHODA AND THE GLUE MAN, Vitalist Theatre, at the Blue Rider Theatre. According to a huge sign posted in the Blue Rider's window, Eve Ensler considers this to be the best production of one of her plays she's seen--proof that she's as poor a judge of theater as she is a playwright. Her tiresome, overwritten, laughably implausible Floating Rhoda and the Glue Man asks us to care about the tortured sex lives of four cartoonish characters with the emotional maturity of two-year-olds in midtantrum. Hyperanalytical Rhoda begins the play in the midst of an apparent psychotic breakdown and remains certifiable for two solid hours as her girlfriend Terrace, her boyfriend Coyote, and her true love, Barn, blather on in fragmented blank verse about the kind of imagined heterosexual anguish that's made John Gray a very rich man. The first act's conclusion exemplifies Ensler's desperate extremism: Rhoda lands in the hospital after Coyote beats her up, Terrace chooses this moment to profess her love for Rhoda, and Rhoda's doctor, leaving her critically injured patient unattended, immediately seduces Terrace.

In a two-page program note director Elizabeth Carlin Metz asserts that "having a relationship is still a singular driving force in our culture." Unfortunately she doesn't allow her actors to have relationships with one another, instead encouraging them to physicalize every emotional hiccup with absurd expressionistic gestures, endless pacing, and occasional swings on a trapeze. The result is a trivial, ponderous evening without a single honest moment.

--Justin Hayford

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