Hopscotch | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader


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HOPSCOTCH, Drama to Dredge Theater Company, at Voltaire. Performed as recently as last August in this same subterranean space, Israel Horovitz's 40-minute actors' exercise deserves a long rest, especially at Voltaire. The current revival, however, is more sexy and natural than Big Deal Ensemble's overcooked staging then.

Horovitz tersely depicts a seemingly casual meeting that slowly darkens and deepens. Elsa, a 29-year-old woman skipping squares in a Massachusetts park, encounters Will, the man who left her with major unfinished business 14 years earlier. The action soon moves from hopscotch to an intermittently intriguing game of cat and mouse. A demolition expert in more than buildings, the man tries to justify his earlier action by running down Elsa's new life with a make-do husband, while she embroiders the details of a supposedly happy marriage. Both try to feel something like the passion they shared as teenagers. But now that passion has turned to hate.

Director Carri Sullens makes the meeting and its half reconciliation as believable and erotic as Horovitz's contrivances allow. Though Michael Ortiz plays the guilty stalker with too much confidence and too little regret, he captures the man's hunger for forgiveness and the pride that prevents him from asking for it. As if re-creating their first date, Heidi Huber nicely modulates Elsa's anger when she realizes it's their last. Now enough with this play, already.

--Lawrence Bommer

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