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One White Crow

Playwright Dale Griffiths Stamos' drama boasts a charged debate about faith versus science that's engagingly even-handed and surprisingly evocative. Renowned TV celebrity psychic Judith Knight (Michelle Danner) offers an exclusive interview to hard-boiled reporter Teresa (Jane Hajduk), who is mystified by the request, given that she is a fierce disbeliever in the occult and is also the daughter of Christopher Hitchens-like religious skeptic Robert. Robert has recently died and Teresa is sure that Judith is scheming some sort of fake séance for PR purposes -- but the real truth turns out to be far more ambiguous and disturbing. Director Deborah LaVine's nicely character-driven staging crafts figures who represent two extreme poles of dogmatic belief -- Teresa and her Richard Dawkins-like boyfriend Alex (a nicely prickly Rob Estes) contrast arrestingly with Danner's Knight, whose inscrutable, Paula Dean-meets-carnival fortune-teller persona is fascinating. Although Stamos' plot runs out of steam at the end, and the dialogue occasionally falters into banality, the premise is enough to make the play intellectually intriguing. Edgemar Center for the Arts, 2437 Main St., Santa Monica; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 5 p.m. (no perfs May 10-12); through June 23. (310) 392-7327, edgemarcenter.org.
Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 5 p.m. Starts: April 27. Continues through June 23, 2013

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