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Ace director Beau O'Reilly keeps the first act of Scott T. Barsotti's pretentious new drama from sinking under its own weight. But not even he (or Gil Rocha's cool drawings on a black wall) can save the second act. The play begins as a seemingly existential dialogue between a fed-up husband and his recluse wife (a nice turn by Debbie Safeblade in this School of the Art Institute/Curious Theatre Branch production), who's focused her paralyzing panic on a mysterious Chevy parked in front of their house. But in the second act, when their connections to the war in Iraq become explicit, it turns into a family melodrama with nothing to drive it, since the first act is all angst, no conflict. Through 7/15: Fri-Sat 8 PM, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, auditorium (room 203), 280 S. Columbus, 773-267-6660, $15 or "pay what you can."

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