There’s something wonderfully sweet about Beau O’Reilly’s most recent piece, though the word sounds strange in connection with a washed-up fighter and his washed-out dreams. An ordinary day in the life of Truck, ne Leonard Bloom, as he reflects on the past and searches for his place in the present, it’s also a subtle and thorough homage to Joyce’s Ulysses and to the Odyssey, down to the faithful dog who recognizes the hero when no one else does. Three actors do the work of a dozen in this spare production–and the sole technician is pressed into service as a performer between bouts of simple but charming stage sleight of hand (flying costumes, self-clinking beer bottles). O’Reilly’s hangdog expression and flat Chicawgo accent as Truck contrast marvelously with the self-awareness of his comic soliloquies, and the scene in which he falls asleep while taking care not to disturb his (imaginary) puppy is enough to give mime a good name. His Truck is simultaneously an indelible individual and an everyman. As almost everyone else–Truck’s father, his brother, some guy he meets on a desert island (Calypso?), his old adversary Joey Buzz–Guy Massey shows an extraordinary fluidity that contrasts beautifully with O’Reilly’s solidity. Sue Cargill makes Truck’s ex-wife sympathetic and annoying in equal measure while contributing to the narrative by cartooning its events on the stage walls. Lunar Cabaret, 2827 N. Lincoln, 773-327-6666. Through September 28: Saturdays, 9 PM. Then Sunday, October 6, 3 PM. $10 or “pay what you can.”

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Colm O’Reilly.