No Sexit | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

No Sexit 

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NO SEXIT, Mammals, at Bailiwick Repertory. "Sex is still relevant," declares Joseph, the insecure male in Sartre's No Exit who's condemned to spend eternity in a small, inadequately furnished cell with selfish bimbo Estelle and hostile lesbian Inez. This is how Sartre visualized hell in 1944. And now Mammals writer-director Bob Fisher updates the concept, producing a timely satire on contemporary culture relying on the idea that "in the afterlife, sex is still used as a weapon," as he says in a program note.

Fisher retains parts of Sartre's text in this 55-minute show, but places the emphasis more on the physical dynamics between the roommates than on their intellectual sparring. What we usually think of as the subtext is blurted out shamelessly or whispered over headset microphones that allow us to hear each actor's every breath. Helpless frustration and erotic activity are suggested mostly through noncontact body language--rendered especially vividly by Sheila Regan as the reptilian Inez. The Mammals' trademark synthesizer-generated aural montage accompanies the evening. The whole approach is initially bewildering, but the unexpected conclusion satisfies.

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