Rituals of Polite Seduction | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Rituals of Polite Seduction 

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It's such a pleasure to come across feminist artists with a sense of humor--and a gift for iconoclastic thinking. Holly Quinn and Julia Rhoads, both dancers with Xsight! Performance Group, have been collaborating since 1995 on quirky pieces like the 1998 Royal Flush, in which they dress up like the heroines in the Disney cartoon versions of Cinderella and Snow White and swoon and fight over their "princes"--Styrofoam heads decked out in terrible wigs. Now they're offering an evening-length dance-theater work, Rituals of Polite Seduction, that bends genders and plays with perception to reflect on socialization and instinct. Performing with them will be dancers Sheldon B. Smith and Annie Veserra and musicians Stone Damon and Luke Rothschild. Again exploring transformation, Quinn and Rhoads--calling themselves Lucky Plush Productions--have come up with images that shift and twist: a paper floor becomes a paper dress becomes a paper runway. Helmets play a crucial role, and one of the texts comes from a Victorian manual about the impropriety of mentioning parts of the female body. The unusual space for the performance--a big, open room in a Chicago Park District field house--offers plenty of opportunities for unusual stage pictures. Thursday and next Friday, August 24 and 25, at 8 at the Hamlin Park field house, second floor, 3035 N. Hoyne, Chicago; $7-$10 suggested donation (only at the door). Call 773-862-9029 or 773-862-9484 for information. --Laura Molzahn

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/William Frederking.

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