Closer 

Patrick Marber's exasperatingly self-ignorant characters never manage to fall in love at the right time. Instead a doctor, photographer, stripper, and writer who bed and betray one another over a period of five years prove that "lying is the currency of the world" and jealousy can live in a vacuum. A bitter pill is best swallowed quickly, but Michael Persad's staging for A Dreaming Experiment is a full 45 minutes longer than Steppenwolf's 2000 local premiere. The glacial pace, clumsy set changes, mumbling diction, and what seems like "sleep acting" rob the script of any semblance of urgency. This production also loses the rhythms of repression that define these very English ditherers and strips them of their accents and cadences. --Lawrence Bommer a Through 9/8: Thu-Sat 8 PM, Sun 6 PM, A Red Orchid Theatre, 1531 N. Wells, 773-310-7794, $10-$18.

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