The Fine Art of Italian Cooking | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

The Fine Art of Italian Cooking 

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The four writer-performers in BoyGirlBoyGirl, Susan McLaughlin Karp, David Kodeski, Stephanie Shaw, and Edward Thomas-Herrera, do what nearly every monologuist does these days: they tell personal stories with loads of ironic humor and occasional emotional poignance. Though this is the last event in the Rhinoceros Theater Festival, these aren't the convention-defying artists who tend to populate it. But their unadorned performances somehow elucidate myriad nuances in the writing. The four create their pieces by riffing off some published text, and for this, their second show, it's a definitive cookbook, The Fine Art of Italian Cooking. Each writer has found a way to turn memories of shared cuisine--or, in Karp's case, her family's complete disregard for gustatory pleasures--into an exploration of human connection, from the satisfying communion of best friends trying not to dissolve into hysterics when they discover a piece of Saran Wrap in a dish at Charlie Trotter's to the anguish of a daughter comparing her terminally ill father to the gruesome, exhausted octopus her Italian grandmother used to cook. 11/19-11/20: Fri-Sat 7 PM. Curious Theatre Branch, 7001 N. Glenwood, 773-274-6660. $12 or "pay what you can."

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