The Complete Lost Works of Samuel Beckett as Found in an Envelope (Partially Burned) in a Dustbin in Paris Labeled "Never to Be Performed. Never. Ever. Ever! Or I'll Sue! I'll Sue From the Grave!!!" | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

The Complete Lost Works of Samuel Beckett as Found in an Envelope (Partially Burned) in a Dustbin in Paris Labeled "Never to Be Performed. Never. Ever. Ever! Or I'll Sue! I'll Sue From the Grave!!!" 

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It doesn't take a lot of brains to parody Samuel Beckett. The clipped, repetitive dialogue and absurd, hopeless situations of his bleak minimalist plays are ridiculous enough, as Beckett well knew; he often had his characters comment on how boring and stupid everything around them was. So it's no surprise that the combined brainpower of Greg Allen, Ben Schneider, and Danny Thompson has produced much more than a straight parody in this piece. Premiered at the Rhinoceros Theater Festival this year, it's got as much Monty Python in it as Beckett. Each of its six sections begins as a perfect Beckett simulation: we encounter a man who spends his life holding up one end of a two-legged table while a pickled brain in a mason jar berates him, an old woman in a rocking chair able to utter only the word "more," a man in the dark describing the dark. But each scene quickly veers into farce: every time the old woman pleads for more, she gets a piped-in recording of Bread's "If," which she listens to in its entirety. The actors periodically interrupt the show to read urgent faxes from the decomposing playwright's grave that threaten legal action if they don't adhere to every word and stage direction in his discarded plays. This is a smart, unapologetically silly evening that richly deserves an encore run. Lunar Cabaret, 2827 N. Lincoln, 773-327-6666. Through December 22: Wednesdays, 8 PM. $10 or "pay what you can." --Justin Hayford

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Ben Schneider.

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