Chicago Reader



photo by Katja Heinemann
photo by Katja Heinemann

photos by Katja Heinemann


Naked I - A Feast for the Senses
Series of Visual Theater
Bailiwick Arts Center

by Carol Burbank
January 31, 1997

The Naked I, curated by Jonathan Pitts, is a six-week performance festival loosely organized around the theme "a feast for the senses" and featuring local artists, actors, and dancers who are restaging, reworking, or premiering short pieces. A chance to test ideas, expand works in progress, collaborate and experiment, it would seem an ideal forum for the inexperienced or border-crossing artist, but it takes a seasoned, flexible performer to make the most of such an opportunity.

Charlie Levin and Meghan Strell's Alternating Currents charmingly explores the way light is used as a metaphor - an idea piece worth watching thanks to its clever visual design and simple concept. Three white-clad women seem to spark light out of darkness using children's old-fashioned flint-and-steel toys. Then they play with the possibilities like wondering primitives. One is greedy and wants to unscrew all the light bulbs and keep them in her basket. Another literally hides her lights under a bushel and loses them to the greedy one. But the third, in the most clever staging, attaches the bulbs, cords and all, to her belt and walks around like a mother duck with a following of light. Providing the only stage illumination, the bulbs' fluctuating patterns are beautiful as well as whimsically narrative.

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