Accelerando | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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Zebra Crossing Theatre.

You've heard the idea dozens of times: If artists were better adjusted and got laid more often, would their happiness deprive us of artistic beauty? Playwright Lisa Loomer addresses the same question in Accelerando, a sort of hybrid of Richard Linklater's Before Sunrise, Neil Simon's The Goodbye Girl, and many a Matt Groening "Love Is Hell" cartoon. Loomer explores the tensions between life and art in our hyperaccelerated society by speeding through the 12-hour relationship of He, a new-age bassoonist and would-be filmmaker who's shied away from human contact to pursue his art, and She, a dancer who's turned her back on her career. Much of the material is familiar, but the play is consistently entertaining: Loomer's dialogue is nearly always snappy and fresh, and her depictions of the parents of her tortured protagonists are original and hilarious.

Zebra Crossing Theatre's solid, well-acted production of this funny, intelligent new script is the sort of thing that's all too rare on the low-budget theater scene. Though Andrea Urice's direction is a little didactic during the play's long-winded speeches, the actors are well suited to Loomer's breezy humor. Sound designer Douglas Beebe earns brownie points for his clever evocations and parodies of new-age music and sound effects, as does set designer Patty Makatura for her simple but elegant homage to Salvador Dali. This production won't blow anybody away, nor does it provide many insights into artists' souls. But for well-nourished intellects, it's like a light, gently seasoned meal, diverting and flavorful enough.

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