Wounds to the Face | Royal George Theatre Center | Theater & Performance | Chicago Reader
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click to enlarge Ian Maryfield

Ian Maryfield

Amanda de la Guardia

When: Fridays-Sundays. Continues through May 14 2017
Price: $28
runcibletheatre.org
A young woman feels "jailed" behind her face. A surgeon tells a disfigured soldier he'll be "forever hideous." A king punishes a portraitist for making him immortal. As Australian writer Alison Croggon once put it, the 18 vignettes comprising this 1994 work by British provocateur Howard Barker form "a kind of theatrical essay on identity . . . driven not by narrative but by questions: What is a face? What does it mean to 'lose face'? What are we without a face?" While strong enough to limn those questions, Andrew Root's staging for Runcible Theatre only fitfully inhabits them. The sticking point: Barker's arch diction. Most cast members seem to equate it with grim formality, leaving just a few brave enough to play. Among the latter, Robert Bouwman, Grant Niezgodski, and Morgan McCabe give fierce, funny performances. —Tony Adler

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