Joe Goode Performance Group | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Joe Goode Performance Group 

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Why do people think that interpreting life in terms of Greek mythology will somehow help them transcend their circumstances? I'm not talking about the characters in Joe Goode's Mythic, Montana but about the choreographer himself. He frames the two tales of love in this piece, set in a fictional Montana town, with a character who combines Sisyphus and Hercules cleaning the Augean stable--a chap in a plaid shirt and dorky hat with earflaps who's perpetually cleaning up, to no avail. One of the two stories features Psyche, here a disaffected goth girl brought to Mythic by her "hippie stoner" mother; this Psyche has renamed herself Zeero but remains susceptible to Cupid's arrows. The other story features a redneck Echo and her preening adopted brother, obviously Narcissus. As in the myth, she virtually disappears while his egotism exceeds all bounds without ever making him happy. Unfortunately, couching pop psychology insights in classical terms doesn't make them profound. More unfortunately, I'm able to retell these stories in detail because Mythic, Montana is dominated by spoken texts, with a few songs thrown in for good measure. The choreography is often merely illustrative, as when Psyche declares, "I'm a poet and a musician," then flings her arms and head wide in a cliched histrionic gesture. Fortunately the opening and closing sections are actual dance, and quite agreeable at that: spiky and slow moving, with an appealing gentleness suggesting natural forms. I'm sure there are people who will appreciate Goode's theatricality, but I found the repetitions of his texts tedious and the shrieking of Narcissus downright unbearable. Also on the program is Goode's What the Body Knows, about "a woman going crazy under the burden of too much empathy." Dance Center of Columbia College, 1306 S. Michigan, 312-344-8300. Opens Thursday, March 20, 8 PM. Through March 22: Friday-Saturday, 8 PM. $20-$24. Note: A discussion with the artists follows the Thursday performance. And the troupe offers a master class Saturday, March 22, at 1 PM at Hamlin Park, 3035 N. Hoyne. $15.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/R.J. Muna.

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