Women Who Love Science Too Much | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

Women Who Love Science Too Much 

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Porchlight Theatre Ensemble, at Red Bones Theatre.

This comedy lives up to its Oprah-esque title, giving us a glimpse into the dysfunctional protagonist's life but none of its substance. Betsy, the insecure adult daughter in an overly rational scientific family, confides to the audience that her emotional nature is keeping her from finding a healthy relationship. Betsy is certainly a 90s heroine suitable for satire--she attends group therapy and tries a special seed diet prescribed by her holistic doctor--but K.R. Cahill's writing doesn't have the edge to make us see society in a new light.

If somehow the interaction between the misfit daughter and her techno family were heightened, the humor might follow. But the nerdy, literal parents and sister are nothing original, and Betsy's discourse with them is predictable: when she tells her mother she wants to have a heart-to-heart talk, mom gathers the family for a lecture on the cardiovascular system. There are moments, however, when we glimpse the human being beneath the stereotype. Betsy's sister Wallace, asexual and antisocial, is "seeing" the perfect man, a robot, and offers to set Betsy up with his clone, revealing the rivalry that separates and the love that connects the sisters. But even this has a television predictability.

Porchlight Theatre Ensemble, a new company, would benefit by choosing riskier, more original new plays. Women Who Love Science Too Much takes on issues ripe for satire but doesn't have the insight to create a satirical world. Perhaps saddest is the predictable ending: Betsy realizes that she can love an average man, while independent Wallace--unable to sustain a relationship even with a robot--is broken and boozy.

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