PD: Position Doubtful | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

PD: Position Doubtful 

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PD: Position Doubtful, Theatre Corps, at No Small Space. Perplexing to a fault, this new collaborative piece by the Theatre Corps draws its inspiration from circus arts, vaudeville, and slapstick. But despite its festive mishmash of genres, PD: Position Doubtful has a surprisingly serious tone. Director Blake Montgomery and the four-member ensemble have taken a high-minded approach to some traditionally lowbrow forms of entertainment, addressing the issues of disconnection and alienation.

As a collection of visual metaphors and non sequiturs, this piece never fails to impress. The sparse, uncredited set design--an expanse of sand bordered by a row of bright school lockers--creates the sense of a vast wasteland that extends beyond the boundaries of polite society. The nimble cast performs even the most awkward of stunts--including one in which two actors use a handkerchief to balance on opposite edges of a dining table--with absolute grace.

But as remarkable as the cast's talent for physical comedy and mime is, the piece feels one-sided: Montgomery and his cast haven't placed the same premium on dialogue and verbal interaction, and the drivel that escapes from the actors' mouths draws attention away from the show's visual strengths. With some pruning, the characters' epiphanies might take form in a less convoluted manner. But as it stands, PD: Position Doubtful offers endless food for thought and little else.

--Nick Green

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