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A female whale’s tale

Missi Davis Caroline Kingsley Brittani Arlandis Green (center) DianSlickman Kristen Magee Dog   Pony Theatre Co.'s 'Breach' The Den

Missi Davis, Caroline Kingsley, Brittani Arlandis Green (center), Diana Slickman and Kristen Magee in Dog & Pony Theatre Co.'s "Breach" at The Den Theatre, 1333 N. Milwaukee Ave., Jan. 16-Feb. 16. Tickets and info at | Timmy Samuel, Starbelly Studios

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Updated: April 14, 2014 4:39PM

“A hyper-physical piece about five grieving women attempting to butcher a whale.” That is the intriguing “promo” description for Egan Reich’s “Breach,” the world-premiere production that kicks off the 10th anniversary season of the ever-ambitious, envelope-pushing Dog & Pony Theatre Company. This show is on the top of my “must-see” list if only because it sounds a whole lot like a female version of “Moby-Dick.”

Reich (a playwright, screenwriter and member of Chicago’s Steep Theatre who currently lives in Washington, D.C., where he is a spokesman for the United States Department of Labor) has conjured five widows faced with the toughest night of their lives, for just as the sea has swallowed up their husbands, it also has deposited a beached whale in their midst. And with that whale comes the possibility of financial freedom. Yet as the women set out to do their husbands’ work of harvesting the whale oil to buy their way to new lives in New York City, they have to figure out how to kill and cut the whale while avoiding circling sharks.

Directed by Krissy Vanderwarker (co-founder and co-artistic director of Dog & Pony) and featuring Missi Davis, Brittani Arlandis Green, Kristen Magee, Caroline Kingsley, and Diana Slickman, the production uses an intensely physical language, as much as a verbal one, to spin this story.

“Breach” runs through Feb. 16 at The Den, 1333 N. Milwaukee. For tickets ($25) visit

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