White Suit Science (Refitted!) | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

White Suit Science (Refitted!) 

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Writer, actor, and director Shawn Reddy seeks to explode the idea that you can understand history by memorizing a collection of immutable facts: his eccentric plays based on historical research find the fault lines that indicate tectonic shifts in how we interpret the past. In My Name Is Mudd, which focused on the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, he considered theories about the conspiracies that might have been involved in the murder of our 16th president, and in the process mocked plays that pretend to reconstruct personalities and events. In White Suit Science, first performed last fall, Reddy and the Magpies deconstruct the mythic power of the southern-style linen suit and the degree to which the image of such men as Mark Twain and "Colonel" Harlan Sanders in ice-cream suits both defines the wearers and obscures inconvenient truths. One of the items Reddy dug up was that Twain wore his famous white suit only in the last year or two of his life, yet thanks to Hal Holbrook and the rest of the Twain industry, that's our dominant image of him. This alone would make for interesting theater, but Reddy also deconstructs his deconstruction of the past by adding a fictional version of himself to the story and mocking his own foibles even as he's convincing us of his arguments. Through 4/8: Sat 4/2, 10 PM; Fri 4/8, 10 PM. Studio 1, $15.

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