Hellish Half-Light | Angel Island | Theater & Performance | Chicago Reader
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click to enlarge Molly Fisher, Rudy Galvan, and Stephen Walker in Catastrophe

Molly Fisher, Rudy Galvan, and Stephen Walker in Catastrophe

Emily Schwartz

When: Thursdays-Saturdays. Continues through Aug. 30 2014
Price: $25
Many of Samuel Beckett's short plays aren't really plays at all. They're human behavior mechanisms—kinetic sculptures made of people and words, constructed to generate distilled visions of who we are and what we do. Director Jennifer Markowitz has assembled a solid half-dozen such mechanisms for this Mary-Arrchie Theatre production, ranging from a clever little joke like Catastrophe (a theater director berates his assistant while she manipulates an actor as if he were so many pipe cleaners) to a dark demonstration of political karma like What Where (a paranoid despot arrests her own thugs one by one until there's only one arrest left to be made) and the literally sculptural Play (three heads sit atop a pedestal and narrate their love triangle in counterpoint). The cast is generally strong, but Stephen Walker is exceptional, playing various characters in a naturalistic (yet often wiseass) style that, strangely enough, makes Beckett's abstractions work. —Tony Adler

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