Innards on the Interstate | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

Innards on the Interstate 

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INNARDS ON THE INTERSTATE, HeIsComing Theatre Company, at the Playground. First the facts: late one summer afternoon, on Interstate 80/94 near Gary, a truck braked to avoid hitting another vehicle and spilled its cargo--lamb entrails--all over the highway. From the bare, uh, bones of this incident Jeff Grafton has fashioned a play filled with mystical manifestations, in which the ovine offal and the human body concealed within it are less bizarre than the personnel sent to investigate the accident. These include a fire marshal who fears his duties will make him late for his dance lesson, a waste-disposal engineer whose name--Peter Pore--inspires the investigating state trooper to alliterative discourse, an assistant who curses in tongues, and of course the driver of the truck, who sees biblical import in these events.

Even at a sparse 30 minutes, Grafton's parable of mortal vicissitudes is too often obscured by self-consciously cute irrelevancies. Fortunately, Grafton as director has assembled a cast who pour on the style, rendering even the most nebulous of characters entertaining--Harry Swiggum in particular makes the visionary trucker the most engaging bug-eyed alien since Marty Feldman. And Greg Grafton's sound effects duplicate perfectly the noises of a busy freeway teeming with travelers indifferent to the presence of heavenly visitors. --Mary Shen Barnidge

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