With its metaphysical meandering streamlined, Keli Garrett's adaptation of Charles Johnson's modern fable now clocks in at a smooth two and a half hours, and paring more than an hour off its original running time has clarified its allegorical story line and made its characters more likable. Lydia Gartin's ingenuous Faith is more assertive in deciding her own fate, while Carl Barnett's doomed artist and Charls Sedgwick Hall's egocentric buppie are now presented not as villainous buffoons, but as misguided pilgrims helplessly searching, like the young woman they cannot save, for the elusive good thing of the title. Overseeing their folly is Lisa Biggs's drolly grotesque Swamp Woman, one of the funniest and scariest creations seen on the Chicago stage this season. After a four-week run at the north-side Bailiwick Arts Center, this joint City Lit Theater-Chicago Theatre Company production is playing at the latter's south-side quarters. One hopes other companies will emulate this plan to bring good theater to a wider range of audience. At Chicago Theatre Company, Parkway Community House, 500 E. 67th, 493-5360. Through May 28: Fridays-Saturdays, 8 PM; Sundays, 3 PM. $15-$18.