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Theatre in the city..."Otherwise Harmless"

Two nights ago I went to see a production of Otherwise Harmless by R.J. Tsarov. The show was directed by my dear fried Matt, and was produced and performed by Citizens Relief, whom I really liked supporting (them's good peeps).

The show was staged in a local little bar (dive?), The Hungry Brain, which is dark, eclectic and fun (excepting when it is super-crowded).

The show promised an "interactive evolutionary adventure; the most growth per least amount of time with the most fun". Hmmmm...sounds interesting, no?



Well certainly it was interesting...though I am unable to tell you more about the show really, or give you any sense of plot or character. The show was very well done with excellent direction and performances and very high production standards. It was "fun" to watch - in that I could not look away and was not bored, but it was often disturbing if not confusing. And yet there were moments of raw beauty in it as well, including a moving image evocative of a flying man that I will never, ever forget.

This piece is typical, I am told, of R.J. Tsarov's work - a playwright who is getting a lot of notice and play in Chicago right now. He's "up and coming" I suppose and I'm not sure what I think of that. Is he unique? Yes - I would say so. He has a great gift for language, as long as you don't mind heavy sexuality, violence and violent sexuality. And yet what of this violence is real and what is metaphoric...I do not know.

I have no idea what this play was about, nor what the playwright, director or actors were trying to communicate through it (if anything). In fact, I turned to the director right after the show and my first words to him were "what the fuck just happened?".

If you get a chance to see or read works by Tsarov (which I would say are not for the faint of heart), I'd love to hear what you think.

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