The Break of Day | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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The Break of Day

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Flashes of wit can't rescue Elizabeth Brown-Guillory's domestic drama from wearisome predictability. Of course the grandfather's indigestion turns out to be a heart attack, his homophobia reflects a secret past experience, and he makes peace with his son, who then reconciles with the grandsons. The dialogue substitutes earnestness and armchair psychology for genuine emotion and insight into character. Director Edward D. Richardson tries to compensate for the missing dramatic tension by having the characters storm and shout from the instant the curtain rises, but this strategy means the energy level has nowhere to go but down. Amidst the wreckage, five actors do what they can to give their characters' banal, overdetermined interactions something like life. Wayne Brown has the most success as the grandfather, but his is the showiest part: as Walter Brennan demonstrated long ago, there's nothing so appealing as someone else's crotchety old relative. Through 6/19: Thu-Sat 8 PM, Sun 3 and 7 PM. ETA Creative Arts Foundation, ETA Square, 7558 S. South Chicago, 773-752-3955. $25; two for one Thu and 7 PM Sun (except closing night).

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