Porno | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Porno 

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This new play by writer-director Sean Graney centers on talentless writer-director Ernie, who's struggling to create what he hopes is a masterpiece--a film adaptation of Christopher Marlowe's Dido, Queen of Carthage--in his basement. But the perverted producer will put up the money only if Ernie agrees to a porn treatment of the subject. In Graney's giddy, almost farcical first act, expertly played in this Side Project staging, Ernie drags his awful cast through his awful script. But in the second the menacing producer shows up and takes over, and Graney's play travels a much gloomier path. In the final ten minutes he pushes the script's perversions to appalling extremes, as the producer forces the performers into acts so monstrous they're difficult to watch. Though it's a conclusion sure to ruin many an audience member's evening, it does bring Porno's dark themes down to viscera, reinforcing the brutality of artistic compromise. Through 6/11: Thu-Sat 8 PM, Sun 7 PM, Side Project Theatre, 1439 W. Jarvis, 773-973-2150, $18-$20.

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