Shadow Kissers | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

Shadow Kissers 

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SHADOW KISSERS, at Frankie J's MethaDome Theater. Abby Schachner's tragic but funny one-woman show is about all the ways we hide from ourselves--through addiction, self-deception, numbness, recklessness. She plays four characters whose stories alternate: a crack-addicted hooker who rambles about the mysteries of her life, a wealthy recovering alcoholic and cocaine addict, a jaded middle-aged woman who's had sex with her husband just 63 times in 35 years, and a southern seductress who gravitates toward men who are deaf, blind, quadriplegic, or in a coma because they make her feel exceptional. Gradually all four women realize that they're staring into an abyss and don't know how to keep from jumping.

No director is credited in the program, but Schachner could use one. Though the show flows well it isn't cohesive, and the narratives are sometimes hard to follow. But these are minor flaws. Schachner's quirky but well-defined characters are grounded in adroit portrayals: each woman has her own characteristic speech patterns, movements, and trains of thought. But the most amazing parts of Schachner's show are those in which she tells stories about herself. She has none of the defensive walls her characters do, opening up to reveal a woman who seems fragile, about to shatter at any moment--but who's also sexy and tough. The stories about others are funny/sad, but the ones she tells about herself are truly moving.

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