Saving Face | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Saving Face 

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Living in the south generally means keeping one foot in the past and one watchful eye on the future: the racist dogma of the old south and the economic prosperity of the new butt heads magnificently in every city below the Mason-Dixon Line. Laurie Jo Reynolds's exhaustive look at two of the often overlooked keystones of Atlanta's cultural heritage--Helen Keller and the Coca-Cola corporation--reveals equal measures of guilt and optimism. Saving Face illuminates some of the sordid details that tour guides might be inclined to gloss over in Keller's childhood home or the World of Coca-Cola exhibit: Keller's socialist stance, Coca-Cola's cutthroat corporate practices, and the political entanglements of both household names. Reynolds matches her brutally honest appraisal with an equally radical staging full of overlapping scenes, movement-based transitions, and symbolic gestures. Five actors--Dave Grant, Keith Shannon, Yuko Yamamoto, Vivian Chiu, and Ilana Manaster--play about 40 roles, heightening the piece's disorienting effect. Delighting in creating oppositions and inviting conflicted responses, Saving Face is alternately fascinating and infuriating, especially when Reynolds suggests that how you perceive history may be more important than history itself. Prop Thtr, 4225 N. Lincoln, 773-327-6666. Through October 6: Saturday-Sunday, 7 PM. $10 or "pay what you can."

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