Montage A Trois | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

Montage A Trois 

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Montage A Trois, Backstage Theatre Company, at Gallery 2828. The Backstage Theatre Company's second production--an anthology of three one-acts--only indicates the distance the troupe has yet to go.

In Jeff Helgeson's Ulterior Motives, a tradesman with larcenous intent chats up a gallery owner, while the lecturer in Jane Anderson's Tough Choices for the New Century: A Seminar for Responsible Living preaches disaster prevention through psychological preparation even as his wife, a survivor of many natural catastrophes, succumbs to delayed-stress syndrome before his eyes. And in Kevin Marquette's Good Weatherproofing, scam artists posing as relief workers prey on naive earthquake victims.

All three plays have intriguing premises but continue long after the playwrights have made their points. (A firearms lecture in Tough Choices, delivered with poise and conviction by Joan Maurer, actually makes a good deal of sense but seems unrelated to the rest of the play.) And in general the directors and actors are too inexperienced to give this weak material the professional panache that might bring it off. Despite the flaws, however, the Backstage Theatre Company displays sufficient potential to delay a verdict until more evidence comes in.

--Mary Shen Barnidge

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