Muzeeka | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

Muzeeka 

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MUZEEKA, Clown Nose Productions and Aardvark, at Voltaire. It's 1965, and Jack Argue senses an emptiness in his life. Armed only with his ultra-Ivy League education (Yale, Harvard, and Princeton), he desperately pursues the elusive goddess of hip, composing elevator music for the Muzeeka company in the belief that he can stimulate the Jungian collective unconscious, visiting a prostitute/priestess in an attempt to connect with the ecstatic Dionysian impulse, and finally liberating his id in the jungles of Vietnam, only to commit suicide when he discovers all his efforts have been for naught.

What might have been biting satire in the brief coffeehouse-theater renaissance of the late 50s and early 60s was long in the tooth by 1968, when John Guare wrote this play. Today its targets (media exploitation, the materialist ethic, crippling consumerism) and theatrical motifs (a faux primitive narrative style, juvenile puns, actors playing doors and furniture, and the obligatory sexy chicks chanting such lines as "General / Westmoreland / Loves Jesus Christ") are even more tired. The only redeeming features of this ill-chosen Clown Nose/Aardvark production are Timothy James-O'Brien's slick period-perfect sound design and David Patrick's tightly focused portrayal of the ineffectual Argue, whose naive quest for enlightenment is so sincere it becomes downright charming. --Mary Shen Barnidge

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