In Process | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

In Process 

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IN PROCESS, Green Highway Theater, at Cafe Voltaire. An interesting drama might have been crafted from the biographies of Clara Westhoff and Paula Modersohn-Becker, both substantial figures in the modernist movement as it developed in turn-of-the-century Germany. But at a bare 30 minutes, with eight scene changes, In Process offers only the briefest of introductions to the two artists, mostly through excerpts from their correspondence, with Modersohn-Becker's voice predominating in a singularly aggressive and probably inadvertent manner. We don't discover who these women are, what their struggles are, or why we should care. Compounding the problem are Temple Lentz's Westhoff and Carol Roscoe's Modersohn-Becker, who gasps for breath every half-dozen words, presumably to convey the robust enthusiasm that will soon be curtailed. Neither one gives any indication of the kind of subtext that might justify such awkwardly translated pronouncements as "All my building blocks have to remain in the house if the house is to become solid." Ultimately we can't see them as anything but the young midwestern college students they are.

Despite these prodigious flaws, Green Highway Theater seems to be on the right track in terms of achieving the goals set out in its mission statement: exploring individual conflicts and using improvisation to develop a script. But one could miss this play altogether by blinking twice.


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