The Broken Museum | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

The Broken Museum 

Sign up for our newsletters Subscribe

THE BROKEN MUSEUM, Mary-Arrchie Theatre. Despite its intriguing title, Christopher Ellis's one-act remains a self-indulgent pseudo-psychological puzzle. The ambiguous plot allows several interpretations of a hypersexual yet unerotic narrative, but the main thrust of every interpretation seems to be a pederastic dominance fetish gone rancid.

The play apparently chronicles the life of an unhappily married couple whose erotic game is to repeat an S-M scene between the artist-who-never-paints husband and his male lover, a street hooker/model-who-never-poses. The scene ends with a pantomimed murder of the artist, then it begins again, like a blandly disturbing dream cobbled together out of fragments of TV shows and soft-porn movies. But it could also be the story of a mentally unbalanced woman obsessed with her husband's murder, played onstage as it recycles endlessly through her mind. Or it could be a play exploring some indecipherable aspect of Art, as seen through ritualistic sex and casual violence.

Whatever narrative Ellis intended to convey, The Broken Museum merely limps forward, the grimly earnest actors posturing their way toward the murderous "climax." Are we supposed to be shocked? Titillated? Saddened? In the lingering pompous haze of encoded dialogue, it's hard to know or care. --Carol Burbank

Support Independent Chicago Journalism: Join the Reader Revolution

We speak Chicago to Chicagoans, but we couldn’t do it without your help. Every dollar you give helps us continue to explore and report on the diverse happenings of our city. Our reporters scour Chicago in search of what’s new, what’s now, and what’s next. Stay connected to our city’s pulse by joining the Reader Revolution.

Are you in?

  Give $35/month →  
  Give $10/month →  
  Give  $5/month  → 

Not ready to commit? Send us what you can!

 One-time donation  → 

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Carol Burbank

Agenda Teaser

Galleries & Museums
August 21
Galleries & Museums
"Artists Run Chicago 2.0" Hyde Park Art Center
September 01

Popular Stories