The Mirror | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

The Mirror 

THE MIRROR, at Voltaire. Young, personable, prolific actor-writer Bill Wilkison somehow got the idea to unearth some columns he wrote in 1986-'87 for the Mirror, his high school newspaper in Merrillville, Indiana--and even worse, to share them with strangers. You'd think that from the vantage of a decade he would have seen that these shallow, Andy Rooney-like "Have you ever thought about...?" maunderings are rife with thuddingly obvious observations on such subjects as the kinds of books found in school libraries, different sorts of tennis shoes, apathetic teachers who prefer coffee breaks to students, the perils of maturity, and wintertime fire drills. Wilkison also reads heated responses from his (justifiably) irritated editors.

This is the sort of tripe you keep hidden until you can view it with wry detachment and saving irony. Sadly, Wilkison seems to think there's unspoiled innocence behind his immature ramblings. A mirror is not the kind of reflection this 70-minute monologue should have gotten. Oddly, watching the show is just like going back to high school: one joins a captive audience bored to distraction. What makes the experience even more regrettable is that Wilkison--who has a dry, Letterman-like delivery--is much smarter than his material. The teenage twerp who emerges from these tedious clippings is an obnoxious wiseass who must have driven his teachers to more than coffee.

--Lawrence Bommer

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