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The ladies’ lunch plans seem quite modest: to dine on fish sticks and lettuce-and-tomato salads at Marsh’s Department Store. But S.M. Shephard-Massat’s Waiting to Be Invited takes place in 1964 Atlanta, where Title II of the 1964 Civil Rights Actwhich prohibits discrimination in public accommodationsstill needs to be enforced lunch counter by lunch counter, no matter what the U.S. Supreme Court might uphold. And that’s just what three African-American doll-factory workers decide to do one scorching summer afternoon. As Louise (Willette Thompson), Delores (Cheryl Collins), and Odessa (Jay Michele Stone) travel by bus to their downtown destination to meet Louise’s friend Ruth (Kim Barnette), they wrestle with the possible consequences of their repast. Will they be charged double or triple for their meal? Will they be spat upon? Will they be jailed for demanding the right to be served? Shephard-Massat reminds us that the battle for civil rights in this country included many small, yet hardly insignificant, acts of courage by everyday people. But, though this type of moral struggle might seem to make for great theater, the African Continuum Theatre Company’s rendition of Waiting to Be Invited seems a bit too much like an hourlong bus ride: After the initial conversation and the taking-in of the sights, you just want to get where you’re goingand it’s taking too long. The play revels in dialogue and dialect, yet even after all the talk its characters still seem somewhat elusive. Nevertheless, Thompson and Collins are understated and convincing; Stone’s feisty Odessa, however, seems a little caricatured. Bus driver Palmeroy (Addison Switzer) and white passenger Ms. Grayson (Rusty Clauss) add delightfully nuanced performances, making the first act’s bus ride a little less static and predictable. The women disembark for the street-set second act, which offers more visual stimulation but repeats the talky tribulations of the first. Waiting to Be Invited climaxes before the ladies embark on their historic meal, though, leaving the audience unsatisfied. Elissa Silverman