The Twilight Zone--The Series | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

The Twilight Zone--The Series 

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THE TWILIGHT ZONE--THE SERIES, Profiles Performance Ensemble, at Red Bones Theatre. Three well-remembered episodes from the seminal TV series are presented in this Profiles production complete with color, a third dimension, six live actors, and an attitude. An iconoclastic effort in a conformist era, the often-poetic original lampooned standardization and, with its sardonic plot twists, predictability, but in this one-hour staging by Joe Jahraus and Darrell Christopher the lure isn't so much the series' deft story telling as the campy potential in its breathless acting. If there's an excuse for this throbbing modern melodrama, it's that these tales of misfits who find their fate where they least expect it almost cry out for overkill.

"The Eye of the Beholder" is a bold attack on conformity: Kerry Richlan plays with full-throttle abandon a supposedly disfigured woman testing the relativity of beauty. "Time Enough at Last" takes an intriguingly ambiguous approach to its egghead hero, a henpecked bookworm-bank teller who attains his life's dream only to have it snatched away with a vengeance. Greg Yaeger plays the persecuted main character with engaging nerdiness.

Easiest to spoof is "Living Doll," which uses a little girl's talking doll (Christopher provides the simpering voice-over) to expose a family's chronic dysfunction. The Child's Play series of movies may have milked this concept dry, but Jahraus gets a lot of laughs playing the patriarchal porker, and Beth Smukowski and Richlan impersonate the rest of this cardboard-cutout family as if desperate to lose that third dimension.

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