Departures

"Be ahead of all partings," says poet Rainer Maria Rilke, "as if they were behind you." This sage advice captures the spirit of these collaboratively written and captivating vignettes about comings and goings, beginnings and endings. All seven pieces are seamlessly and artfully interwoven so that the end product is a long one-act that's shrewdly directed by Bob Morrisey and skillfully composed and condensed by James Mellon. The backdrop is a busy airport terminal where 12 travelers await their flights. There is a cantankerous man in a wheelchair (Danny Murphy) and a kindly porter (Curtis J) who helps him; a busybody woman (Melanie Ewbanks) and her infant daughter; a seductive flight attendant (Effie Hortis); a pilot (Roger Ainslie), who suffers from — of all things — a fear of flying; a gay couple (Jonathan Zenz and Michael Craig Shapiro), on their way to China to adopt a baby girl; a neurotic bride (Andrea Lockhart) in a wedding dress; and a grandfather (Morrisey), on his way to Iraq to save his grandson from a battlefield death. All of these passengers briefly interact and share their pain, sadness, hope and joy with each other, then depart, but not before they demonstrate that a place as mundane as an airport terminal is fertile ground for entertainment. Rounding out a fine cast are Robert Arbogast, J.R. Mangels and Jim Lunsford. Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 3 p.m. Starts: Jan. 26. Continues through Feb. 24, 2008