Red Circle Prayers/Trap Door Dream Dogs/Love Gandhi | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

Red Circle Prayers/Trap Door Dream Dogs/Love Gandhi 

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Red Circle Prayers, Trap Door Dream Dogs, and Love Gandhi, Rhinoceros Theater Festival, at No Exit Cafe. The three one-acts on this bill all concern characters trying to figure out who they are. The most opaque and unconventional, Red Circle Prayers, is a semiautobiographical piece written and performed by Robin Cline and Eiren Caffall. Two women travel through the Dakotas and Wyoming trying to find some way to order what Cline calls their "inner chaos." We never find out what that means, nor do we learn much about Cline or Caffall (who never speaks but provides musical accompaniment). Instead Cline fills up her half hour onstage with minilectures on coal miners, mid-70s therapy techniques, early language acquisition, and the effect of Hollywood on tourism.

Kat McJimsey--performing a one-woman play, Trap Door Dream Dogs, adapted from Teresa Weed's short story--does a much better job than Cline at getting at her piece's emotional heart, as a repressed farmer's daughter slowly finds herself. Then again, Weed's story is much more compelling, if decidedly long.

Love Gandhi, written and directed by Heidi Broadhead, would also benefit from editing. Right now it's two plays awkwardly spliced together: a comical look at peace activism and a serious examination of a relationship foundering on the two eternal issues, communication and commitment. Elizabeth Graettinger and Tim Smith, winning as the central couple, make it easy to forgive the play's structural flaws.

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