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  • Angela Allyn

Magnus speaks her (and maybe our) mind

Multidisciplinary performance artist Jenny Magnus is a difficult to define creator whose work is deep, intelligent and wide ranging.  As she takes the stage, entering from the lobby like she is heading to a meeting with important people, then switches gears to put on a work apron (foreshadowed by a very funny film of many people donning or attempting to don similar pinafores), her signature spiky hair is a dark grey, signaling she is now our metaphysical crone who is here to say some important things. This new show The Good now on view at Chicago Dramatists is short and sneakily big.  The  things she has to say, the conversation she starts, will tickle your mind and intrigue you, even while challenging you and herself.  She is fearless, heading headlong into red and blue and public good and what it means to care and give care and to harm, and then there’s this Shitty Little Things song I can’t get out of my head.  She is metaphorical while literally being on the nose. Her verbiage is elevated and so beautiful and complex you need to see this performance more than once.  She selects and maneuvers with words like a poet, uses gesture and movement like a dancer and sings like this is a new experimental musical. What is the show about?  It's a 45 minute everything all at once journey through what this observer and commentator of real art and life has been thinking about for years, and you are going to want to hear it. It is self aware and asks searing questions even as her siren song voice lulls you into a comfort zone. In the end, I came away with the idea that it is, as nearly as a brilliant work of art can be, about the messy hard work of living and never knowing exactly what this thing called life is.  And that's a lot to cover in less than an hour.  

The Good is part of the 35th anniversary season of the Curious Theatre Branch which Magnus cofounded.  Magnus isn’t on stage often enough so don't miss this show and take advantage of the post show opportunity to respond: weekends until April 21, 2024 at Chicago Dramatists, 798 Aberdeen Street in Chicago. For tickets and information go to

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