Soiree Dada: Blinde Esel Hopse | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

Soiree Dada: Blinde Esel Hopse 

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Hugo Ball, whose Cabaret Voltaire birthed Dada during World War I, described it as "both buffoonery and a requiem mass." The latest in WNEP Theater's "Soiree Dada" series, whose subtitle means "Blind Donkey Hopscotch," gets that. Performed by nine clowns in whiteface and tramp costumes, the piece's anarchic games and strangely mesmerizing nonsense poems are ingeniously buffoonish while its half-giddy, half-terrified insistence on the cruel emptiness at the center of things becomes a kind of merry dirge. The original dadaists, with their oft-professed disdain for the artistic past, might have scorned the idea of attempting to re-create the spirit of a 90-year-old experiment, but WNEP's well-crafted chaos proves that Dada retains its power to tickle and prod. a Through 10/14: Thu-Sat 7:30 PM, Sun 3 PM, Chicago Cultural Center, studio theater, 78 E. Washington (enter at 77 E. Randolph), 312-742-8497, $15-$20.

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