Madame and Eve: A Gen-Y-Me Interpretation of Creation | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

Madame and Eve: A Gen-Y-Me Interpretation of Creation 

MADAME AND EVE: A GEN-Y-ME INTERPRETATION OF CREATION, Treehouse Theatre Company, at the Chopin Theatre. You'd be hard-pressed to come up with a production less cogent than Treehouse's Madame and Eve. It takes most of the play's two hours to figure out rudimentary plot details in Rebecca Schneider's world premiere, as snide, angst-ridden black girl Madame, who's straight, confronts her former high school chum Eve, who's snide, angst-ridden, white, and lesbian: after four years at different colleges, they're tearing through every unresolved resentment they can unearth.

The problem is Schneider's penchant for nondramatic interruptions: three Grace-like women who may or may not be imaginary dance around the room and deliver copious quotes from Audre Lorde, Bell Hooks, and Sarah Schulman. There's something intriguing about Schneider's dramatic effrontery, deconstructing the action at every turn with the bits of cultural criticism or social science her characters deliver directly to the audience. However, the lucidity of these appropriated texts--which for the most part address racial and gender inequalities in American society--only underscores the opacity of everything else.

Director Matt Herman is no help: instead of trying to clarify the play's multiple voices, he keeps all five women wandering and fidgeting. Someday Schneider's idiosyncratic approach may produce interesting results, but here it produces mostly confusion. --Justin Hayford

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