Table Settings | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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TABLE SETTINGS, Close Call Theatre, at the O Bar & Cafe. Neuroses are usually a family affair, and Table Settings introduces us to playwright James Lapine's dysfunctional kindred: negligent father, prissy mother, hedonistic elder son, precocious younger son, rebellious daughter, and old-country grandmother. The typical urban upper-middle-class clan is shown over a period of some 20 years passing their destructive habits from generation to generation.

If Lapine's characters appear similar to those of Woody Allen, Edward Albee, Terrence McNally, and all those beat generation playwrights, director Vito P. Gioia Jr. and the Close Call Theatre ensemble embrace their material as if it were minted yesterday, drawing on the intimacy of the tiny O Bar basement to create highly individualized personalities for stereotypical characters. The cast interacts with the audience in a manner both personal and personable. No actress in town does a better J.A.P. than Heather Graff.

--Mary Shen Barnidge

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