Shatterwhite Bliss | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

Shatterwhite Bliss 

Shatterwhite Bliss, Twilight Sun Theatre Company, at Breadline Theatre Laboratory. An unbroken line of contentious dialogue runs through Apollo M. Weaver's six playlets, but the disagreements all seem schematic, functional yet hardly worth 20 minutes apiece. I've got this self-mutilation thing, but hey, you drink too much; maybe I don't eat enough, but hey, you stay up too late; turns out I'm bi, and hey, talk about confusing. In each case it seems certain there's more going on than meets the eye, and indeed the finishing twists of two pieces deliver the goods. But another pair with similar turns are incomprehensible, and the remaining two simply disintegrate.

You might say Weaver plays war as if it were high-stakes poker, fleshing out the battles with endless exits, belabored points, and baffling flashbacks. Though definitely capable of turning a phrase, he's yet to master the art of cutting the clutter, or letting his best lines call attention to themselves; four or five truly funny retorts get smothered by reminders that they're jokes.

By show's end the deeper problem is clear: in ways both sweet and sour, every dialogue is the kind of conversation you sometimes gotta have but you'd never want transcribed, let alone re-created. Fold in tip-of-the-iceberg characterizations more appropriate for a full-length play, and you've got a straight-up Sisyphean task. But the strong, unmannered cast do a nice job bringing across the genuine--if maddeningly abstract--emotions underlying Weaver's oft mysterious scenarios.

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