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One Fine Day


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"A feeble, secondhand Mr. Chips" is how one character describes Fred Miller, the embattled professor at the center of David Rush's muddled new play. Unfortunately, the sobriquet fits. Despite a game lead performance from Don Bender (a relatively late replacement for another actor), the play veers from strained academic demi-satire to misty midlife-crisis melodrama to over-the-top surrealism, in dream sequences involving Lewis Carroll and the Jabberwock. Miller's decision to twit an argumentative Jewish student by dressing like Hitler and passing out Nazi propaganda in class doesn't make him a free-speech hero-- just a jerk. And larding a play with irrelevant, self-conscious references to Jung, Ayn Rand, and Chekhov doesn't make it smart--just superficial. --Kerry Reid a Through 4/7: Thu-Sat 8 PM, Sun 3 PM, Stage Left Theatre, 3408 N. Sheffield, 773-883-8830, $18-$22. The cast offers a free program of selected scenes Tue 3/13, 7 PM, at Book Cellar, 4736 N. Lincoln; call 773-293-2665.

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