Moment | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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Moment, Umalleniay Productions. Only a young company would do something as audacious as inserting a short play between the two acts of a work by the same writer. A scandalous abuse of a playwright's intent, this choice probably also violates the theater's contract with the writer's licensing agent. But in Umalleniay Productions' brilliant execution, it's also a great idea.

The two Richard Greenberg plays here are structurally and thematically similar. Both use three actors, two men and a woman, and both address the creative process, artistic partnerships, and worldly success. In the 1987 The Author's Voice, a gnarled, gnomelike man does all the writing for a sexy media darling. And in the 1997 Three Days of Rain, a socially inept architect is the one who comes up with his firm's widely acknowledged world-class designs.

True, the plays are written in different styles. The Author's Voice is a comedy best performed as Mikhael Garver stages it here, in a broad, highly physical way. Meanwhile, Three Days of Rain is as subdued and serious as, well, a rainy weekend. But the two approaches work well together. After Three Days of Rain's somber first act, the comical Author's Voice cleanses the palate, preparing us for the other play's gentle, moving second half. And Garver directs both works with equal facility.

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