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Josh Kornbluth, in Love and Taxes

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If you hadn't noticed, live theater is quickly running out of taboos. Dysfunctional families? Consult O'Neill, Miller and Williams--50 years back that-away. Sex? See The Vagina Monologues--among hundreds. Nudity? Hair, The Full Monty, Puppetry of the Penis. Bestiality? Edward Albee's latest, The Goat or Who is Sylvia?

Money--exactly how much you take home, and exactly what that does to your life, including your chances at love and your future?

Well?

Autobiographical monologist Josh Kornbluth returns to Duke this week--one year after bringing Ben Franklin Unplugged to Durham--to explore the improbable connections between Love and Taxes at Shaefer Theater. Among other topics in Kornbluth's solo stand: exactly how much he makes, exactly how deep he got into owing the IRS ($80,000), and how that influenced the beginnings of his relationship with his wife, Sarah.

The son of idealistic mid-century New York Communists (as documented in Red Diaper Baby) would be likely to have more issues than the average taxpayer--ostensibly the reason Kornbluth skipped filing returns for seven years. His monologue finds improbable parallels in his gradual attempts to take responsibility for his finances and his relationships.

The people he meets in his quest blur from one side to the other. A tax lawyer proves to be a "virile, passionate practitioner of the taxation arts." A "holistic" tax attorney probes Kornbluth's "earliest tax memories" in their first financial therapy session.

The stations get stranger as Kornbluth realizes a deeply-felt--but long-time denied--ambition: to grow up and be "a provider."

Thursday & Friday, Feb. 19-20, Sheafer Theater, Duke University, Durham. 684-4444 or www.tickets.duke.edu. $10-$20.

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