Arts & Culture » Performing Arts Review

Before I Wake

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William J. Norris's 1995 two-hander about a divorced couple with unfinished business is downbeat without being particularly revelatory. At a minimum it requires actors who can make us believe that a retired Chicago cop and his "fire-breather" ex-wife once had great passion for each other. But that's lacking in Marc Rita's creaky staging for TinFish Productions: Tom Viskocil and Lorraine Freund approach the dialogue gingerly, and the occasional teasing tone Norris tries to establish gets lost. A bigger problem is that the play's emotional payoff depends on a twist telegraphed so far in advance that it has no impact when it finally arrives. If you don't see it coming, it's probably because you've nodded off yourself. --Kerry Reid a Through 7/29: Thu-Sat 8:30 PM, Sun 5 PM, Victory Gardens Greenhouse Theater, 2257 N. Lincoln, 773-871-3000, $15-$20.

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