Underneath the Lintel | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Underneath the Lintel 

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This monologue by Glen Berger is an existential comedy akin to Waiting for Godot, full of clues to what is most likely a mystery without solution. As performed by the exceptional Larry Neumann Jr., Berger's story of a librarian's quest to determine the origin of a book returned 113 years overdue is even more moving than it is thought provoking, though Neumann also knows how to make the most of the script's plentiful wit and wordplay. With its balance of humor and pathos and its obsessive narrator, Underneath the Lintel pays homage to Chekhov's monologue On the Harmful Effects of Tobacco, in which an antismoking lecturer erupts into a dissection of his marriage. Here the unnamed protagonist recounts his battles for space in the library's refrigerator, details his visits to Les Miz in multiple cities, and explains the minutiae of foxhunting while showing us how a life--quiet or frenetic, homebound or on the move--is a work in progress whose process and conclusion its creator can never see. The important thing is that it's as full of potential as the librarian's date stamp, which contains every possible future and past day. John Gawlik directs this Noble Fool Theatricals production with assurance; even Neumann's drop in energy at the very end seems intentional, as if the character were finally resting from his labors. This show was worth the long trip out from the city, even during a blizzard. Through 4/2: Wed-Fri 8 PM, Sat 4:30 and 9 PM, Sun 2 PM, Pheasant Run Resort & Spa, 4051 E. Main (Rte. 64), Saint Charles, 630-584-6342. $27-$37; dinner package available.

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