Frame 312 | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

Frame 312 

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FRAME 312, Eclipse Theatre Company, at Victory Gardens Theater. Frame 312 of the famous Zapruder movie shows John Kennedy in midassassination: a bullet's already hit him, another's about to finish him off. In frame 313 his head explodes. Keith Reddin's play turns on the premise that something in frame 312 proves Lee Harvey Oswald didn't act alone, that the government cut the proof out, leaving us with a fraudulent version of history, and that a suburban matron named Lynette is the only person alive who can set things right. A former secretary at Life magazine, Lynette's kept the pristine original footage tucked away in a manila envelope for 30 years.

Well, when it comes to the Kennedy assassination just about anything is believable. And yet this play isn't. It fails on a historical level because it never accounts for the incredible amount of attention showered on the Zapruder film--and the question of its authenticity--since the day it was made. It fails on a narrative level because Lynette never takes commonsense precautions like putting the reel in a safe-deposit box. It fails dramatically because Reddin never connects the Zapruder bit to his depiction of Lynette's dysfunctional family. It fails onstage, despite some good performances, because Steven Fedoruk's production is way too earnest. The most one can say is that the show gestures wanly toward a message about what's true in a world of malleable images. Which isn't enough.

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