Collected Stories 

Are writers entitled to use others' real-life stories? When does artistic license become soul stealing? This dilemma drives a wedge between an aspiring author and her aging mentor when the young protegee overshadows her professor using material that the older woman shared in confidence. The production is part of Circle Theatre's Black Box Series, in which developing artists stage low-tech productions, focusing instead on acting and directing basics. Worthy concept, but the results are uneven. Kelly Schumann is shrill and uncomfortably intense as the younger writer, but at least she's believable. Marie Goodkin's erudite condescension and singsong delivery clash violently with the rough edges playwright Donald Margulies has given the character--Goodkin's professor would never say "shitload." With no elaborate production elements to distract us, the falsity of the two women's conversations is glaring. Through 1/23: Thu-Sat 8 PM, Sun 3 PM. Circle Theatre, 7300 W. Madison, Forest Park, 708-771-0700. $12.

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