Sci-fi head-scratcherDan Jakeson August 24, 2022 at 6:12 pm

Organizational consulting is like a cube of lard: it looks like a sweet bite of white chocolate but sits heavy in the stomach. Stupid people are to be avoided, like how a dry foot rejects a wet sock. Working is like drinking salt water. Women with whom men have affairs are martini olives. Playwright and Yellow Rose Theater founder Joseph Zaki’s two-act sci-fi morality play, Gigi’s Party, purports to be an exploration of faith, the future of health care, and bodily autonomy, but it’s more memorable as perhaps the most peculiar collection of head-scratcher analogies and similes to be put onstage.

Gigi’s PartyThrough 9/3: Thu-Fri 7:30 PM, Sat 3 and 7:30 PM, Den Theatre, 1331 N. Milwaukee, 773-697-3830, gigisparty.com, $33 ($22 seniors)

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Gigi (Katherine Wettermann), a not-quite-middle-aged corporate executive, decides to throw herself an assisted-suicide “D Party” far earlier than the 70-to-150-year life expectancy enabled by modern medicine, which has all but eliminated the most common causes of natural death. Her announcement is met with horror by her loving husband (Sean Frett) and a mix of curiosity, conflict, and some respect from her friends and colleagues, including her genetic engineer lover (Kieran O’Connor). Director Kelly Levander’s production touches on significant and well-trodden existential themes common in hard science fiction, and creates some fun 2058 world-building, like the existence of 3D-printed designer apparel. But the performances are rendered so strange by inscrutable plot tangents, gravel-smooth dialogue, and the sort of character choices that feel more at home in a surreal Yorgos Lanthimos movie (at one point, adversaries at a bar inexplicably begin sliding beer bottles back and forth and call out chess moves) than the straightforward play Gigi’s Party is styled as. It certainly leaves audiences with questions. Just not the right kind. 

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