Any smart and seasoned dramatist who concludes a play about marital deception with the trite line “The common casualty was truth and the reason given was love” must have a joke inside of them somewhere. That joke seems to have been lost on Orion’s Left Foot Theater and its mostly sober staging of playwright Steven Dietz’s frequently produced “Private Eyes.” A Pirandellian dark comedy with absurdist elements, the play concerns the infidelity between a husband-and-wife acting team rehearsing a play about the infidelity between a husband-and-wife acting team. Along with the play-within-a-play, “Private Eyes” features therapy sessions, wish-fulfillment dream sequences and mysterious characters. The structural complexities, shifting points-of-view and bizarre narrative are a perfect fit for Orion’s stated mission of producing challenging theater. Unfortunately, the actors are in over their heads as evidenced by rushed performances lacking psychological nuance, comic irony and any sense of overall understanding of who they are in the play’s perplexing world. The unfortunate result for the audience is confusion and frustration rather than satisfaction with the dramaturgical tricks of “Private Eyes.” (Fabrizio O. Almeida)
The Cornservatory, 4210 N. Lincoln, (630)688-5611. Wed-Fri 8pm. $10. Through Sep 2.