God's Mistake | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

God's Mistake 

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GOD'S MISTAKE, Corn Productions, at the Cornservatory. There's something brave, and a little foolhardy, about a comic writer who decides to produce a serious work. If writers of the stature of Charlie Chaplin and Woody Allen have a hard time pulling it off, you'd hardly expect Robert Bouwman--the Tiff half of the local drag comedy duo Tiff and Mom--to be able to. Yet his fictionalized version of the horrific story of Kip Kinkel is surprisingly powerful.

Kinkel, you may remember, was the Oregon youth who in May 1998 killed his parents, then went to school the next day and killed two of his classmates and wounded 25 others before being subdued in the cafeteria. Reporting this sordid tale, Bouwman avoids all the fake soul-searching and hypocritical moralizing common in media scrutiny of such cases. Instead he tells Kip's story straight, quoting freely from his rage-filled journal, his taped confession to the police, and interviews with Kip's sister.

God's Mistake is not perfect. At times Bouwman's living-newspaper style--complete with actors who play both Kip's parents and a chorus--seems a little contrived, and the play does fall apart in the last ten minutes. But before that, Bouwman treats us to a number of compelling moments, and Jeff Kongs's chilling performance as the murderous adolescent is superb.

--Jack Helbig

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