2 by Pearl: Hospice & Late Bus to Mecca 

Eclipse Theatre Company continues its season of work by Pearl Cleage with this pair of one-acts featuring four black women. Neither could be called a brilliant experiment in dramatic form, but they handily reflect issues of race, gender, and the creative impulse, and Cleage's gift for sharp-elbowed dialogue allows actors to pull out all the stops. The evening opens with the caustic Hospice, about a celebrated dying poet and the daughter she abandoned years earlier. But the real gem is the hilarious, touching Late Bus to Mecca, in which a motormouth prostitute befriends a silent, disheveled woman in a 1970s Detroit bus station and helps her take the first step toward freedom--or at least Atlanta. It features sterling performances by Alana Arenas and Francis Wilkerson, who will trade off roles during the run. a Through 9/2: Thu-Sat 8 PM, Sun 3 PM, Victory Gardens Greenhouse Theater, first-floor main stage, 2257 N. Lincoln, 773-871-3000, $18-$22. --Kerry Reid


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