Saturday Stories | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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Saturday Stories

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SATURDAY STORIES, A Red Orchid Theatre. Jimmie Cumbie's collection of monologues disguised as a play concerns an apartment building that apparently rents only to heartbroken singles. Over the course of a rainy, dismal Saturday, each tells his or her sorrowful tale of love gone wrong.

Some are quite moving, as when one resident muses on a long-distance relationship that went sour; in another, the building's depressive janitor thinks about the child he might have had if he hadn't pressured an ex-girlfriend into an abortion. And the show's level of performance is high. Even the short connecting scenes, in which solitary urbanites pass each other sadly in the halls or sigh and collect their mail, are executed with a finesse and polished exactness that speak volumes about Beatrice Bosco's intelligent direction and Red Orchid's ability to attract top-notch non-Equity talent.

Unfortunately, the show lacks the variety and energy to hold an audience's attention for 75 minutes. All of Cumbie's characters seem hopeless, all their tales are depressing, and even though the particulars differ--this woman is a drunk, that man is a whiner, this guy is a dope--all the stories begin to feel the same after a while.

--Jack Helbig

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