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Orange Sky

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It's difficult to have an emotional response to Ms. Understood Productions' "almost love story" since just following it demands such effort. Writer-director Summer Neville and her codirector and fellow performer, Christopher Alvarado, begin with a girl-meets-boy dumb show dully performed to rap, folk, and pop music samples. Once Neville and Alvarado begin speaking, they behave as if we know their characters' history. Since we don't, caring is a challenge. Then we're left to puzzle out their relationship as the action jumps around in time. Both actors struggle to deliver Neville's image-laden love poetry naturally--they're more convincing in their humorous snipes at each other. Alvarado also demonstrates some truly affecting love and loss at show's end. For this ambitious play to work overall, however, it needs greater focus. An objective director might have helped make the show more comprehensible. Wed 11/24, 8 PM. Then 12/3-12/17: Fri 10:30 PM. Then Sat 12/18, 10:30 PM. Live Bait Theater, 3914 N. Clark, 773-755-7868 or 773-248-0465. $12.

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