Un-American Activities | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

Un-American Activities 

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It's great to see young artists take an interest in politics, but they should learn more about the subject before they attempt to teach it. And you know a show's in trouble when 15 of its 60 minutes are devoted to a debate over whether to have an intermission, even if the debate is intended to make a point about democracy. Experimental Theatre Chicago's ensemble-generated movement pieces and sketches illustrate such fresh discoveries as "Conformity is bad--and pervasive." Jaclyn Biskup's staging leans too heavily on pantomime, and some actions are merely puzzling: is that woman playing a violin or burping a baby? A lengthy game of charades loses its punch, and the audience doesn't know whether to participate. Ensemble scenes suggest the innocence and earnestness of both a revival meeting and a 60s be-in, but originality and wit are lacking. Through 11/1: Fri-Sat 8 PM, Mon 8 PM. Spareroom, 2416 W. North, 312-388-7660. $12. Closing.

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