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Dog Show has the pedigree of pure Beckett

Not I is a continuous monologue spoken by a disembodied mouth (Tharp behind black screen) and its owner (Tina Parker), a silent woman who stands with her back to the audience and her head covered. Even as the mouth pours out a maniacal, contradictory stream of memories from the life of her owner, the owner (called by Beckett "the auditor") wordlessly reprimands the mouth with reminders of things it would rather not speak--things, of course, we will never hear, because the auditor is mute and the mouth is stubborn. Who's controlling whom? The one-sided bickering becomes hilarious and chilling at the same time.

Thanks to Shelly Tharp, Sheriden Thomas, and Tina Parker, Dog Show gave me a nightmare--but an oddly pleasurable, personally instructive one. Tharp, Thomas, and Parker are all new members of the Kitchen Dog troupe, which has expanded from 4 to 12. The upcoming season will find these dozen performers trading acting and directing chores to forge highly individual visions of new and classic plays. If Dog Show is a true taste of what's coming, I look forward to Kitchen Dog sniffing around my dreams again.

Dog Show runs through June 22. Call 953-1055.

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