The Strangerer | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

The Strangerer 

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Guy Massey's brilliant performance as George W. Bush anchors Theater Oobleck's new political satire, which imagines the Decider as a present-day equivalent of Mersault, the antihero of Albert Camus' 1942 novel, The Stranger. In this absurdist comedy by Mickle Maher--who costars as John Kerry--set during a 2004 candidates' debate, Bush tries several times to murder unflappable moderator Jim Lehrer (Colm O'Reilly) on the air, giving his reasons in a narrative as scrupulously detailed as Mersault's. Massey has Bush's mannerisms down cold: the odd pauses and arbitrary emphases when he speaks, the heh-heh laugh that sounds simultaneously ingratiating, contemptuous, and paranoid, the wide-eyed, eager-to-please smile that morphs into a mean, squinty grimace. But more than an on-target impersonation, Massey delivers a richly detailed portrait of a man whose profound isolation reflects society's emotionally charged political, religious, and cultural schisms. a Through 3/25: Thu-Sat 8 PM, Sun 3 PM, Chopin Theatre, 1543 W. Division, 773-347-1041, $10, "more if you've got it, free if you're broke."

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