Sweet Shot, Thirsty Theater, at the Pilsen Theatre. This pair of Jeffrey Sweet one-acts is lopsided. The brief Cover, directed by C. Thomas Ortis, is flimsily portrayed, while the three actors in Porch, deftly directed by Mitchell Newman, give lush, intimate performances.
In Cover, Marty (Joe Glorioso) tries to get his friend Frank (the credible Larry Carani) to lie for him when Marty's wife, Diane (L. Allyn Hall), asks about the previous night, which Marty spent with another woman. Sweet riffs sharply on truth and loyalty, but overall the play's timing is off, and the actors can't make it work.
Porch is worth waiting for, though. It opens with a father and daughter talking on a porch on the eve of major surgery for him. He's thinking about his mortality, but she's stiff and sullen, anxious to watch TV or play cards rather than discuss her dating habits, her failure to provide grandkids, or the fate of the family store. Burt Natarus and Kerry Cox give this strained relationship a riveting naturalness. The play becomes even more intimate when Sam (David Krajecki) arrives to visit the daughter. Cox and Krajecki depict with great care the nervousness that gives way to familiarity when two lonely adults reminisce while skirting the pain they caused each other as young lovers. Feeling distinctly voyeuristic, you're drawn into these two lovely but pained reunions.