M.K. Victorson | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

M.K. Victorson 

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The impulse behind A Thousand Points of Lite: MK Victorson on Church and State is to put on a show, to amuse rather than educate. It's an approach that suits the subject: this agreeably childlike 75-minute dance-theater piece deals with Victorson's experiences in junior high and high school as the daughter of a Lutheran minister. There's plenty of 80s nostalgia in the musical choices and the hairstyles, but what really makes the piece work is the specificity of Victorson's reconstructed experiences, especially those related to her church-oriented upbringing: she tries to pray unobtrusively in the lunchroom at her father's suggestion and never quite gets to lunch itself; her volleyball team is called Genesis 3:19; a church social is dominated by talk about the food--even the pastor, as the self-important woman at the microphone ruefully observes, can't wait to get to the Swedish meatballs. The first half of the evening, the "church" part, closes with a short film, "Miss Lake Luther," written by Victorson and Lotti Phariss and directed by John Knowles. Based on Victorson's hazy memories of a camp talent show, it humorously evokes the uneasy transition of the middle-school years from idealism to cynicism, from obeying the good-girl rules to scoffing at them. Victorson's personality comes across strongly--she wants to both do the self-effacing right thing and be a "rock star," an influential person in the limited world of Utica, New York. Her route is dance (it's certainly not volleyball). And yet the dance segments, performed by Victorson and a backup cast of six, are a little disappointing. At their best they spoof various popular and classical styles, but they can't really stand on their own. And toward the end, during the "state" portion of the show, Victorson makes a feint at cultural commentary on ethnicity, causing the piece to trail off rather than truly conclude. But overall this is a good-hearted, lightweight performance without pretension, perfect for the end of summer. Hamlin Park, field house, second floor, 3035 N. Hoyne, 773-784-8999. Opens Thursday, August 21, 7:30 PM. Through August 22: Friday, 7:30 PM. $10.


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