In the Midnight Hour 

I'm exhausted! I've just gone toe-to-toe with playwright Kathleen Collins and, I'm embarrassed to say, she won.

Collins' In the Midnight Hour is Kuntu Repertory Theatre's season-opener. I'm pooped because I spent the first half of the first act trying to figure out what the hell was happening, and the second half trying to figure out how I'd ever be able to describe it.

Though it's supposed to be set in a Harlem apartment, I think we're actually near Three Mile Island, because radiation is the only thing that could explain the insanity. People talk about nothing, and endlessly, and the only way we know they're done is that everyone chuckles warmly. All the time.

Papa Daniels: Would you love me if my name weren't so easy to say? (He chuckles warmly.)

Mama Daniels: I don't know, Ralph. (She chuckles warmly.)

The daughter says she's "thinking about joining the movement" and Papa goes to a psychiatrist because he's afraid of 125th Street. A defrocked seminarian is writing a book about the dialectics of Catholicism, and two young women in evening gowns wander through the apartment -- and nobody can see them. When the son entered toward the end of the first act playing a flute, I knew I wasn't going to hang around for two more acts. Collins won.

In the Midnight Hour continues through Nov. 4. University of Pittsburgh Alumni Hall, 4227 Fifth Ave., Oakland. 412-624-7298



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