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Theater to See in L.A. This Week, Including a Disturbing Tale of Freed Slaves in Oklahoma

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Thu, Oct 31, 2013 at 9:08 AM

click to enlarge Matthew Hancock, Shaun Taylor-Corbett and Demetrius Grosse in the road weeps at Los Angeles Theatre Center - ED KRIEGER
  • Ed Krieger
  • Matthew Hancock, Shaun Taylor-Corbett and Demetrius Grosse in the road weeps at Los Angeles Theatre Center
click to enlarge stage_raw_100x100.jpeg
Marcus Gardley's epic tale of freed slaves in Oklahoma, the road weeps, the trail runs dry at LATC, nabs this week's Pick of the Week. Our critics also felt warmly for Beckett's Endgame at Pasadena's A Noise Within, and for Evita at the Pantages. See below for the latest new theater reviews and region-wide stage listings.

Sheldon Epps speaks with the Weekly about his mixed-race production of Reginald Rose's Twelve Angry Men at Pasadena Playhouse, where Epps serves as artistic director. See theater feature.

NEW THEATER REVIEWS, scheduled for publication October 31, 2013: GO ENDGAME
click to enlarge Jill Hill and Mitchell Edmonds - CRAIG SCHWARTZ
  • Craig Schwartz
  • Jill Hill and Mitchell Edmonds
"Nothing is funnier than unhappiness; it's the most comical thing in the world," chimes Nell (Jill Hill), one of the very unhappy souls in Samuel Beckett's 1957 absurdist classic, Endgame, about four pitiful characters trapped in a decrepit room as the outside world collapses in decay and sterility. Unlike the equally pitiful tramps in Waiting for Godot, there is no expectation of hope or purpose, just the agonizing passage of time, ending in an inevitable, painful demise. Nell's misery is shared with Nag (Mitchell Edmonds): Both are confined to battered rubbish cans, and periodically emerge to ask for a stale biscuit or engage in meaningless chatter. Perched upon a grotesque caricature of a throne sits the blind and crippled Hamm (Geoff Elliott), whose every whim and need is grudgingly tended to by the bent, shuffling Clov (Jeremy Rabb), in a perverted, meaningless ritual of servitude. Jeanine A. Ringer's rusted building interior, strewn with scraps of trash, makes a fitting backdrop for this doleful scenario. Elliott's direction is as spot-on as his performance; he skillfully accents the play's comic and lyrical elements without compromising Beckett's dark, relentlessly blighted vision. This superb revival showcases fine performances from other cast members as well, especially Rabb, who raises chuckles every time he moves. A Noise Within, 3352 E. Foothill Blvd., Pasadena.; Sun., Nov. 3 & 17, 2 & 7 p.m.; Fri., Nov. 8 & 22, 8 p.m.; Sat., Nov. 9 & 23, 2 & 8 p.m.; Thurs., Nov. 14, 7:30 p.m. (626) 356-3100, anoisewithin.org. (Lovell Estell III) GO: EVITA This now-legendary musical began as a concept record album, later became a Tony-winning stage hit on Broadway in 1979 and then a film starring Madonna. It's now receiving its first full-scale revival in more than 30 years (this production, which originated in London, closed on Broadway in January). The show tells the grim Cinderella story of Eva Peron (Caroline Bowman) and her spectacular rise from tango dancer in a rural Argentine cantina to ambitious social climber who slept her way to the top, married dictator Juan Peron and became first lady of the land, regarded as a near-saint by the Argentine people. But don't expect nuanced political history: The approach is metaphorical (in part through director Michael Grandage's stunning visual images) and generalized rather than specific. The show's appeal lies elsewhere. Andrew Lloyd Webber's passionately melodic score, Tim Rice's lyrics and the athletic and aggressive choreography by Rob Ashford provide a stirring spectacle, enhanced by Christopher Oram's costumes and grandiosely architectural set. There are impressive performances by Bowman, Josh Young as Che, Sean McLaughlin as Juan Peron, Krystina Alabado as Peron's discarded mistress and Christopher Johnstone as Eva's feckless first husband. It's an enthralling but curiously remote, impersonal theatrical experience. Pantages Theatre, 6233 Hollywood Blvd., Hlywd.; Tues.-Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2 & 8 p.m.; Sun., 1 & 6:30 p.m.; through Nov. 10. (800) 982-2787, ticketmaster.com. (Neal Weaver) EXIT THE KING Although Exit the King was written as a response to World War II, what comes as a surprise in director Pat Towne's manic revival of Eugène Ionesco's withering, existential allegory is that the play's apocalyptic vision of a Western civilization in social and moral collapse feels no less resonant or relevant to our own day. That said, no one can accuse Towne of a light touch. Jeff Alan-Lee's steamroller turn as King Berenger I all but flattens the screwball loopiness of Ionesco's slapstick into an unmodulated shriek. Erin Matthews and Jill Bennett (along with the fine Nicholas Ullett as the Doctor) provide a more measured restraint as the antic royal consorts, while a handsome set by Christopher Murillo and goth-accented costumes by Halei Parker lend the proceedings a smart polish. But it is only Matt Richter's strikingly sculpted lighting and hauntingly poetic sound that fully tap the poignancy and power latent in Ionesco's calculated absurdity. NoHo Actors Studios, 5215 Lankershim Blvd., N. Hlywd.; Sat.-Sun, 8 p.m.; through Nov. 30. (818) 763-1208, exittheking.com. (Bill Raden) LOVE'S LABOUR'S LOST
click to enlarge Chris O'Brien and Ian Littlewood - LAURA CROW
  • Laura Crow
  • Chris O'Brien and Ian Littlewood
This early comedy of Shakespeare's takes place in the Kingdom of Navarre, where Liege Ferdinand (Jeremy Lelliott) and Lords Berowne, Dumaine and Longaville (Michael Faulkner, John Klopping, TJ Marchbank) forswear the company of the fairer sex for three years, fasting and studying, while they pursue the loftier regions of philosophy and art. They succeed -- for about five minutes -- until the French Princess (Sammi Smith) arrives with her trio of attractive attendants (Julianne Donelle, Emelie O'Hara and, at the performance reviewed, Kylie Wills standing in for Madeline Harris), after which celibacy and ascetic hardships go out the window. This is not one of the Bard's strongest plays. It's bursting with excess dialogue, has clunky plot divertissements, and even has a painfully protracted play-within-a play segment. Director Ted Barton doesn't ameliorate these problems, and thus a play that clocks in at a little over two hours feels like four. Cast performances, on balance, are good. Coeurage Theater Company at 2nd Stage, 6500 Santa Monica Blvd., Hlywd.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., Nov. 3, 2 p.m.; Sun., Nov. 10, 7 p.m.; through Nov. 10. (323) 944-2165, coeurage.secure.force.com/ticket. (Lovell Estell III) THE PAIN AND THE ITCH
click to enlarge Eric Hunicutt and Joe Holt - ED KRIEGER
  • Ed Krieger
  • Eric Hunicutt and Joe Holt
Playwright Bruce Norris' dark satire about upper-middle-class, white American triviality is a difficult pill to swallow, with his trenchant, discursive dialogue often being as bitter as pickle brine and his characters as twisted as pretzels. It's Thanksgiving in the Pacific Palisades home of a seemingly contented upper-middle-class family, but everyone truly loathes one another. Young dad Clay (Eric Hunicutt) and his ferociously aggressive lawyer wife, Kelly (Beverly Hynds), simmer with rage at each other, while some kind of a mysterious monster upstairs runs amok, sickening their young daughter. In Norris' drama, the monster appears to be a metaphor for the family's moral rot but, notwithstanding the keen wit of the writing, there's something one-note about the shrill situations and endless spite. Nevertheless, director Jennifer Chambers' taut production crackles with energy and rage, and assured, often harrowing performances are offered by Hynds in portraying the hateful and hate-filled Kelly, Hunicutt as the seething Clay, and April Adams as the casually monstrous, visiting mother-in-law. Zephyr Theatre, 7456 Melrose Ave., Fairfax District; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 7 p.m.; through Dec. 1. (323) 960-5774, plays411.com/pain. (Paul Birchall) PICK OF THE WEEK: the road weeps, the well runs dry
click to enlarge Matthew Hancock, Shaun Taylor-Corbett and Demetrius Grosse in the road weeps at Los Angeles Theatre Center - ED KRIEGER
  • Ed Krieger
  • Matthew Hancock, Shaun Taylor-Corbett and Demetrius Grosse in the road weeps at Los Angeles Theatre Center
There are glints of the Oresteia in Marcus Gardley's poetic, sweeping drama, the road weeps, the well runs dry, which takes place in a 19th-century Oklahoma town settled by fleeing African-American freedmen and their Native American cohabitants. The story's tragic chain of events erupts around the searing rivalry between the community's swaggering Native American sheriff, Trowbridge (Darrell Dennis), and his implacable enemy, Number Two (Demetrius Grosse), a dark and violent man. When their children fall in love, Number Two brutally and without compunction murders his rival's son, whereupon drought settles on the land, followed by additional cruel and heartrending events. The play's grim narrative is leavened by its all-too-human characters and their laughable foils: a feckless preacher (Darryl Alan Reed) functions as a spineless companion to his fanatical wife (Nakia Secrest); an ineffectual shaman (Brent Jennings) keeps up his dancing long after its senselessness becomes clear. As a fount of evil, Grosse simmers in Act I and scorches in Act II. The rest of the ensemble shines as well, especially Monnae Michaell as Trowbridge's angry widow, a woman of mighty magic who ultimately proves to be Number Two's nemesis. Designer Frederica Nascimento's bleak but striking set and Bruno Louchouarn's haunting music and sound frame the spectacle. Shirley Jo Finney's direction displays her accomplished hand. Los Angeles Theatre Center, 514 S. Spring St., Dwntwn.; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sat.-Sun., 3 p.m.; through Nov. 17, thelatc.org (Deborah Klugman) ONGOING SHOWS REGION-WIDE:
Aesop in Rancho Cucamonga: An adaptation of Aesop's Fables, commissioned by the MainStreet Theatre Company. A world premiere play by Luis Alfaro, directed by Robert Castro. Sundays, 1 p.m.; Saturdays, 1 & 4 p.m. Continues through Nov. 10. Lewis Family Playhouse, 12505 Cultural Center Drive, Rancho Cucamonga, 877-858-8422, www.lewisfamilyplayhouse.com.

All I Want Is Magic: Another musical revue at T.U. Studios, starring one dozen talented twentysomethings who are up-and-comers in the world of vocal music. Sundays, 7 p.m. Continues through Nov. 10. T.U. Studios, 10943 Camarillo St., North Hollywood, 818-205-1680.

GO: Awake and Sing: The legendary 1935 production of this Clifford Odets play has been credited with establishing the Group Theatre's reputation, electrifying the Broadway of its time, and changing the very nature of American acting for generations. It has become a high-water mark against which any subsequent production is measured. This rendition, directed by Larry Eisenberg, is a solid and respectable effort, if not an overly exciting one. The play's most remarkable achievement is the creation of Bessie Berger (Michele Bernath), the quintessential Jewish mother -- tough, manipulative, willing to stoop to anything to preserve her family. She marries her pregnant daughter (Christine Joelle) off to an unsuspecting schlemiel (Marcos Cohen), dominates her ineffectual husband (Patrick Burke), sabotages the love life of son Ralph (Troy Whitaker) and connives to rob him of the $3,000 left to him by his militant grandfather Jacob (Stan Mazin), all in the context of Depression-era life in New York City. She's opposed only by Jacob and her bitter war-veteran boarder Moe Axelrod (Daniel Kaemon, in a striking performance). Bernath admirably captures Bessie's lethal determination, though doesn't win much sympathy for her. But all the actors acquit themselves honorably. (Neal Weaver). Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2 p.m. Continues through Nov. 3. Lonny Chapman Group Repertory Theatre, 10900 Burbank Blvd., North Hollywood, 818-700-4878, www.thegrouprep.com.

The Black Suits: A new rock opera that captures the emotion and intensity of being in a high school garage band. Music and lyrics by Joe Iconis, book by Joe Iconis and Robert Maddock. Tuesdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 1 & 6:30 p.m. Continues through Nov. 24. Kirk Douglas Theatre, 9820 Washington Blvd., Culver City, 213-628-2772, www.centertheatregroup.org.

Bob Baker's Halloween Hoop-De-Do: First played at the theater in 1963. Featuring a fantastical cast of over 100 Halloween-themed puppets, from the Purple People Eater and the Invisible Man, to a gaggle of "Roaring 20's" skeletons dancing the night away in Hernando's Hideaway. Saturdays, Sundays, 2:30 p.m.; Tuesdays-Fridays, 10:30 a.m. Continues through Nov. 3. Bob Baker Marionette Theater, 1345 W. First St., Los Angeles, 213-250-9995, www.bobbakermarionettes.com.

Bob Hope's Birthday: Jeri Batzdorff's sweet and zany "pre-holiday" dramedy about a grandmother with Alzheimer's disease, whose caregiver leaves suddenly, bringing reluctant family members together to care for her. Starting Nov. 3, Sundays, 7 p.m. Continues through Nov. 24. Zombie Joe's Underground Theatre, 4850 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood, 818-202-4120, zombiejoes.homestead.com.

Bottom of the World: Lucy Thurber's incoherent melodrama appears to have been written without the playwright's clear understanding of what she wanted to say. Abigail (Stephanie O'Neill), who has been traumatized by her sister's death, can't relate to friends or lovers, and prefers communicating with her dead sibling Kate, a former writer. Perched in a tree, Kate's ghost (Natalie Burtney) peppers sophomoric truisms into her "reading" of her last novel, about two country boys (Jeremy Mascia and Steve Madar) whose love lives upend their friendship. The re-enactment of this fictional story alternates with Abigail's. Meanwhile, another subplot brews around the soon-to-be-divorced parents of Abigail's best friend. Keeping track of the goings-on isn't easy because some actors double up on their roles (the playwright's choice). If there's a thematic thread that binds these stories together, it has eluded me. Rio Zimmerman's lighting design and Naomi Kasahara's set create an interesting ambience on the tiny proscenium, which director Sabina Ptasznik utilizes efficiently. (Deborah Klugman). Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 7 p.m. Continues through Nov. 3, thevagrancy.com. Lounge Theatre, 6201 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles, 323-469-9988.

Brown & Out Theater Festival: A collection of eight new comedic and dramatic short plays celebrating the Latino, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning/Queer experience. Visit casa0101.org for a complete schedule. Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 5 p.m. Continues through Nov. 3. Casa 0101, 2102 E. 1st St., Los Angeles, 323-263-7684, www.casa0101.org.

By the Bog of Cats: Marina Carr's Irish drama, based on Euripides' tragedy Medea. Hester Swain, a tinker who lives on the bog, is cast aside when her husband decides to marry a younger and wealthier woman. The past unravels in a whirlwind as Hester makes a final stand to reclaim the life she once knew. Starting Nov. 2, Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2 p.m. Continues through Dec. 8. The Banshee, 3435 W. Magnolia Blvd., Burbank, 818-846-5323, www.theatrebanshee.org.

Captured Aural Phantasy Theater's Haunted Horror Spook Show: Combining multi-media, old radio show-style performances of vintage horror comic books with elements of a vintage spook show, presented in CAPT's signature variety show style. Sun., Nov. 3, 8:30 p.m. El Cid, 4212 W. Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, 323-668-0318, www.elcidla.com.

GO: Cirque du Soleil's Totem: A production from the Montreal-based contortionist circus, performed inside its trademark blue and yellow big top tent. Written and directed by world-renown multidisciplinary artist Robert Lepage, Totem traces the fascinating journey of the human species from its original amphibian state to its ultimate desire to fly. Sundays, 1 & 4:30 p.m.; Fridays, 4:30 p.m.; Saturdays, 4:30 p.m.; Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m. Continues through Nov. 10. Port of Los Angeles, 425 S. Palos Verdes St., San Pedro, 310-732-3600.

Civilization (all you can eat): A satirical romp of corruption, consumption, and success in the changing America of 2008. Following the lives of several character archetypes, Civilization looks back at that moment of hope, when America could have been anything. Written by Jason Grote. See Stage feature: http://www.laweekly.com/2013-10-17/stage/jason-grote-civilization-son-of-semele/full/. Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 3 p.m. Continues through Nov. 3. Son of Semele, 3301 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles, 213-351-3507, www.sonofsemele.org.

GO: Creditors: A despondent young artist, Adolf (Burt Grinstead), laments his problematic marriage, pouring his heart out to a new acquaintance, Gustav (Jack Stehlin), at a Swedish seaside resort. But as Gustav pries secrets from the weak-willed husband, smoothly poisoning him against his divorcée wife, Tekla (Heather Anne Prete), we observe tantalizing clues, revealing that this friendly fellow somehow knows too much. Incisively directed by David Trainer, playwright David Grieg's new version of August Strindberg's turn-of-the-century psychological thriller Creditors is a talky play that draws you in with its hypnotic spell. Grinstead is good as the crippled artist, whose crutches and poorly functioning legs are emblematic of his stunted emotionality and ready manipulation. Prete is great as the gallivanting wife, as she willfully misunderstands her husband when he confronts her with trumped-up accusations. Stehlin is phenomenal as the older man harboring dark motives, though his vindictive agenda is revealed before the play's devastating if melodramatic conclusion. The character itemizes his justification in a blistering tirade and your sympathies waver toward him -- just for a moment. Bitterly cynical but engrossing, Creditors is strictly for those who enjoy an intellectual argument spiked with misogyny and cyanide. (Pauline Adamek). Wednesdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2 p.m. Continues through Nov. 17. Odyssey Theatre, 2055 S. Sepulveda Blvd., Los Angeles, 310-477-2055, www.odysseytheatre.com.

Delusion: Masque of Mortality: A Los Angeles-based horror event, running for its 3rd year. Every show-goer becomes their own protagonist in this interactive story, which takes place in the plague-riddled 1930s, with doctors promising not only a cure to the plague, but a life free of human limitations as well. Through Nov. 2, 7 p.m.; Through Nov. 9, 6 p.m.; Thu., Nov. 7, 7 p.m.; Fri., Nov. 8, 7 p.m.; Sat., Nov. 9, 6 p.m.; Thu., Nov. 14, 7 p.m.; Fri., Nov. 15, 7 p.m.; Sat., Nov. 16, 6 p.m.; Thu., Nov. 21, 7 p.m.; Fri., Nov. 22, 7 p.m.; Sat., Nov. 23, 6 p.m., www.enterdelusion.com. Bethany Presbyterian Church, 1629 Griffith Park Blvd., Los Angeles.

Don't Dress for Dinner: A fast-paced comedy in the French tradition, about Bernard's plans for a romantic rendezvous with his chic Parisian mistress. Written by Marc Camoletti, adapted by Robin Hawdon, directed by Todd Nielson. Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2 p.m. Continues through Nov. 3. International City Theatre, Long Beach Performing Arts Center, 300 E. Ocean Blvd., Long Beach, 562-436-4610, www.ictlongbeach.org.

GO: Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde: Mark Twain wrote, "Everyone is a moon, and has a dark side which he never shows to anybody." So it is in Robert Louis Stevenson's classic novella of dual personalities and scientific overreach. This adaptation by Jeffrey Hatcher uses a cast of six actors, and is set in the dark alleyways of Victorian London, cleverly depicted in Ellen Lenbergs' set design of skewed lightposts and brick walls. In a portrayal infused with a convincing mix of arrogance and vulnerability, Stephen Van Dorn does the honors as Dr. Henry Jekyll, the ambitious physician who desires to find a door to the mind and "isolate the beast in man's nature." Isaac Wade and Mark Bramhall are equally effective as the murderous Edward Hyde (oddly, in this adaptation, throughout the performance, two actors switch off playing the character). Director Mary Jo Duprey opts for a less terrifying presentation of Hyde (see the film version with Spencer Tracy as hokey, hairy beast), which brings the psychic split into sharper relief. Hyde even has a love interest, Elizabeth Jelkes (Greyson Chadwick), which further underscores an elemental humanity. This philosophical retelling of this old tale is well done, and features a fine ensemble. Pablo Santiago's lighting schema is exceptional. (Lovell Estell III). Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2:30 p.m.; Sat., Nov. 16, 2:30 p.m. Continues through Nov. 17. Actors Co-op, 1760 N. Gower St., Los Angeles, 323-462-8460, www.actorsco-op.org.

GO: Endgame: "Nothing is funnier than unhappiness; it's the most comical thing in the world," chimes Nell (Jill Hill), one of the very unhappy souls in Samuel Beckett's 1957 absurdist classic, Endgame, about four pitiful characters trapped in a decrepit room as the outside world collapses in decay and sterility. Unlike the equally pitiful tramps in Waiting for Godot, there is no expectation of hope or purpose, just the agonizing passage of time, ending in an inevitable, painful demise. Nell's misery is shared with Nag (Mitchell Edmonds): Both are confined to battered rubbish cans, and periodically emerge to ask for a stale biscuit or engage in meaningless chatter. Perched upon a grotesque caricature of a throne sits the blind and crippled Hamm (Geoff Elliott), whose every whim and need is grudgingly tended to by the bent, shuffling Clov (Jeremy Rabb), in a perverted, meaningless ritual of servitude. Jeanine A. Ringer's rusted building interior, strewn with scraps of trash, makes a fitting backdrop for this doleful scenario. Elliott's direction is as spot-on as his performance; he skillfully accents the play's comic and lyrical elements without compromising Beckett's dark, relentlessly blighted vision. This superb revival showcases fine performances from other cast members as well, especially Rabb, who raises chuckles every time he moves. (Lovell Estell III). Sun., Nov. 3, 2 & 7 p.m.; Fri., Nov. 8, 8 p.m.; Sat., Nov. 9, 2 & 8 p.m.; Thu., Nov. 14, 7:30 p.m.; Sun., Nov. 17, 2 & 7 p.m.; Fri., Nov. 22, 8 p.m.; Sat., Nov. 23, 2 & 8 p.m. A Noise Within, 3352 E. Foothill Blvd., Pasadena, 626-356-3100, www.anoisewithin.org.

GO: Evita: This now-legendary musical began as a concept record album, later became a Tony-winning stage hit on Broadway in 1979 and then a film starring Madonna. It's now receiving its first full-scale revival in more than 30 years (this production, which originated in London, closed on Broadway in January). The show tells the grim Cinderella story of Eva Peron (Caroline Bowman) and her spectacular rise from tango dancer in a rural Argentine cantina to ambitious social climber who slept her way to the top, married dictator Juan Peron and became first lady of the land, regarded as a near-saint by the Argentine people. But don't expect nuanced political history: The approach is metaphorical (in part through director Michael Grandage's stunning visual images) and generalized rather than specific. The show's appeal lies elsewhere. Andrew Lloyd Webber's passionately melodic score, Tim Rice's lyrics and the athletic and aggressive choreography by Rob Ashford provide a stirring spectacle, enhanced by Christopher Bram's costumes and grandiosely architectural set. There are impressive performances by Bowman, Josh Young as Che, Sean McLaughlin as Juan Peron, Krystina Alabado as Peron's discarded mistress and Christopher Johnstone as Eva's feckless first husband. It's an enthralling but curiously remote, impersonal theatrical experience. (Neal Weaver). Fri., Nov. 1, 8 p.m.; Sat., Nov. 2, 2 & 8 p.m.; Sun., Nov. 3, 1 & 6:30 p.m.; Tue., Nov. 5, 8 p.m.; Wed., Nov. 6, 8 p.m.; Thu., Nov. 7, 8 p.m.; Fri., Nov. 8, 8 p.m.; Sat., Nov. 9, 2 & 8 p.m.; Sun., Nov. 10, 1 & 6:30 p.m. Pantages Theater, 6233 Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles, 800-982-2787, www.hollywoodpantages.com.

Exit the King: Although Exit the King was written as a response to World War II, what comes as a surprise in director Pat Towne's manic revival of Eugène Ionesco's withering, existential allegory is that the play's apocalyptic vision of a Western civilization in social and moral collapse feels no less resonant or relevant to our own day. That said, no one can accuse Towne of a light touch. Jeff Alan-Lee's steamroller turn as King Berenger I all but flattens the screwball loopiness of Ionesco's slapstick into an unmodulated shriek. Erin Matthews and Jill Bennett (along with the fine Nicholas Ullett as the Doctor) provide a more measured restraint as the antic royal consorts, while a handsome set by Christopher Murillo and goth-accented costumes by Halei Parker lend the proceedings a smart polish. But it is only Matt Richter's strikingly sculpted lighting and hauntingly poetic sound that fully tap the poignancy and power latent in Ionesco's calculated absurdity. (Bill Raden). Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m. Continues through Nov. 30. NoHo Actors Studios, 5215 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood, 818-761-2166, www.thenohoactorsstudio.com.

Fall Shorts: An evening of 11 new ten-minute comedies. Written by Steve Korbar, Bette Smith, Lina Gallegos, Maureen A. Martin, Raegan Payne, Barbara Lindsay, Pedro Antonio Garcia, Rhea MacCallum, and Daniel Guyton. Featuring 20 actors and a rapid-fire pace. Tuesdays, 8 p.m. Continues through Nov. 12. Whitefire Theater, 13500 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks, 818-990-2324, www.whitefiretheatre.com.

Fallen Angels: Julia and Jane are the best of friends and are each happily married. But before they tied the knot, they each had a brief, torrid affair with Maurice, a charming, handsome Frenchman. While their husbands are away for a day of golf, guess who's back in town and requesting the ladies' company? A sophisticated comedy, written by Noël Coward, directed by Art Manke. Tuesdays-Saturdays, 7:30 p.m.; Saturdays, Sundays, 2 p.m. Continues through Nov. 3. Laguna Playhouse, 606 Laguna Canyon Road, Laguna Beach, 949-497-2787, www.lagunaplayhouse.com.

Falling: Exploring the dynamic and complicated reality of a family with an autistic 18 year-old, this play poses difficult questions about loving someone who is hard to love. The Martins try to lead a normal life, but when a relative comes to visit, the entire family is thrown out of equilibrium. Written by Deanna Jent. See Stage feature: http://www.laweekly.com/2013-10-24/stage/falling-rogue-machine/. Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 3 p.m. Continues through Dec. 1. Rogue Machine Theatre, 5041 W. Pico Blvd., Los Angeles, 855-585-5185, www.roguemachinetheatre.com.

GO: Flowers for Algernon: Daniel Keyes' now classic sci-fi story about a mentally challenged man whose IQ skyrockets after a surgical procedure tackles not only how we treat disabled individuals but how ephemeral are those intangible values -- love, life, respect -- that we cherish. Directed by Matthew McCray, Deaf West Theatre's signed and spoken production of David Rogers' stage adaptation is a mixed bag, its awkward staging offset by Daniel Durant's charismatic lead performance as Charlie, along with the capable work of several others in the cast. Though never quite persuasive as a towering intellect, Durant's overwhelming likability in every scene compels attention. Especially effective are his lovely interchanges with Hillary Baack, exuding her own unpretentious charm as his teacher and vulnerable love interest. The production's weaknesses have to do with the side-by-side placement of signing and speaking performers, a cluttering visual distraction that detracts from the drama. Also confusing is having some performers sign for one character while taking on the role of another, a choice that emanates from the paring of the original 30-person ensemble to 12. McCray's staging of flashbacks behind a scrim adds resonant texture to the narrative, as do lighting designer Jeremy Pivnick's blue, green and gray changes in the backdrop's hue. (Deborah Klugman). Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2 p.m. Continues through Nov. 17, $30. Whitefire Theater, 13500 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks, 818-990-2324, www.whitefiretheatre.com.

Gidion's Knot: In a parent-teacher conference, two women circle each other with scalding mistrust. A deeply tortured web of events has entangled and bound them together in tendrils of fear, rage, and sadness. Written by Johnna Adams, directed by Darin Anthony. Presented by the Furious Theatre Company. Starting Nov. 2, Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2:30 & 7:30 p.m. Continues through Nov. 24. Pasadena Playhouse, 39 S. El Molino Ave., Pasadena, 626-356-PLAY, www.pasadenaplayhouse.org.

Goldilocks and The Three Bears: A musical version of the classic tale, performed for children and families by Storybook Theatre. Saturdays, 1 p.m. Continues through Feb. 22. Theatre West, 3333 Cahuenga Blvd. W., Los Angeles, 323-851-7977, www.theatrewest.org.

A Good Grief: A dark comedy, written by Leslie Hardy and directed by Jeffrey Wylie. During a new session of grief counseling, four strangers struggling with their own steps in the grieving process start on a collision course into each other's issues. Sundays, 3 p.m.; Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sat., Nov. 30, 8 p.m. Continues through Nov. 23. Lounge Theatre, 6201 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles, 323-469-9988.

GO: Groundlings Online University: See Stage feature: http://www.laweekly.com/2013-08-22/stage/groundlings-el-grande-coca-cola/full/. Fridays, 8 p.m.; Saturdays, 8 & 10 p.m. The Groundlings Theater, 7307 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles, 323-934-9700, www.groundlings.com.

The Guardsman: Of the 42 plays written by the Hungarian Ferenc Molnár, few have found a permanent foothold on the English-language stage to the degree of this 1910 farce about vanity, artifice and theatrical illusion. It is, in short, an old chestnut of the pre-World War I high style. Unfortunately, director Michael Michetti's otherwise handsome revival (on Tom Buderwitz's elegant set and under Adam Frank's bravura lighting) can't quite blow enough of the dust off Molnár's antique ironies and patent absurdities to ignite more than polite titters. Freddy Douglas is the neurotically insecure Budapest matinee idol convinced that his stage-diva wife (Elyse Mirto) is entertaining ideas of an affair. To trap her, he sets out to seduce her in the guise of a dashing Viennese officer. While Douglas plays his part with flamboyant relish, Mirto's aloof and remote turn results in an unsettling chemistry that only comically catalyzes when the two share a scene with the fine Robertson Dean as "The Critic." (Bill Raden). Fri., Nov. 1, 8 p.m.; Sat., Nov. 2, 2 & 8 p.m.; Sun., Nov. 10, 2 & 7 p.m.; Fri., Nov. 15, 8 p.m.; Sat., Nov. 16, 8 p.m.; Thu., Nov. 21, 7:30 p.m.; Sat., Nov. 30, 2 & 8 p.m. A Noise Within, 3352 E. Foothill Blvd., Pasadena, 626-356-3100, www.anoisewithin.org.

GO: The Homosexuals: Philip Dawkins' comedy revolves around Evan (boyishly cute blond Brian Dare), who arrives in town as a naive, newly out greenhorn but soon joins a mildly incestuous circle of gay friends, including four guys and one girl, Tam (Kelly Schumann), a history teacher and sassy, self-defined fag hag. Collin (Matt Crabtree) falls for Evan on sight, and they become lovers. Michael (Kurt Quinn) is the nice-but-nebbishy guy who can't get laid. Mark (David Fraioli) is a slightly saturnine art teacher and gay activist, whose attempt to seduce Evan ends in a fight. British Mark (Ben Patterson) is buff, black and British, and his attempt to seduce Evan ends in stalemate, perhaps because both men are tops -- though that might be negotiable. Peter (Butch Klein) is a musical comedy queen, who becomes Collin's successor as Evan's lover. Each of the six scenes is interesting and entertaining, but there's little real action and the narrative arc is weak -- a fact emphasized by the playing of the scenes in reverse order, à la Merrily We Roll Along. But the piece is largely redeemed by director Michael Matthews' fine production and excellent performances from all the actors. (Neal Weaver). Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2 p.m. Continues through Dec. 1. Atwater Village Theatre, 3269 Casitas Ave., Los Angeles, 323-644-1929, www.atwatervillagetheatre.com.

The House at Pooh Corner: Join Winnie The Pooh, Piglet, Rabbit, Owl, Tigger and Eeyore on their adventures with Christopher Robin in the Hundred Acre Wood. Adapted by Bettye Knapp from the book by A.A. Milne. Directed by Bonnie Hellman. Fridays, Saturdays, 7 p.m.; Sundays, 2 p.m. Continues through Nov. 24. Eclectic Company Theatre, 5312 Laurel Canyon Blvd., Valley Village, 818-508-3003, www.eclecticcompanytheatre.org.

GO: Humor Abuse: As the title indicates, Humor Abuse is no lighthearted evening of sidesplitting laughs. Demonstrating elaborate pratfalls, juggling and elegant comedy bits, Lorenzo Pisoni's solo clown show charts his upbringing as a fourth-generation vaudevillian and performer, focusing mainly on a relationship with his father that was more work than play. Lorenzo took to the stage in his parents' company, the Pickle Family Circus, when he was only 2 years old, honing his clown skills under the tutelage of his father, Larry Pisoni. In recounting their relationship, Lorenzo projects a tone that is bittersweet and melancholy, with an undercurrent of both resentment and deep respect. Frequently subverting our expectations, he engages us throughout his 90-minute confessional show by performing various routines. One is a commedia dell'arte sequence, in which he deftly dons and doffs masks as he leaps in and out of an old steamer trunk. Another is a nail-biting, Chaplinesque routine in which he plays a Sisyphean bellhop struggling to get five pieces of luggage to the top of a staircase. Pisoni's movements are fluid and effortlessly precise and his prodigious skills are a joy to watch, even as his buffoonery is tinged with sadness. Co-creator and director Erica Schmidt has created fine staging, with clever lighting by Ben Stanton and original music and evocative sound design courtesy of Bart Fasbender. (Pauline Adamek). Tuesdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 1 & 6:30 p.m.; Saturdays, 2:30 p.m. Continues through Nov. 3, $40-$60. Mark Taper Forum, 135 N. Grand Ave., Los Angeles, 213-628-2772.

In My Corner: The theme of fathers and sons occupies well-trodden ground in the theater, but Joe Orrach's exploration of his relationship with his Puerto Rican father is unique in its presentation. Having been a professional boxer and tap dancer, Mr. Orrach is hardly an average Joe, and he and co-writer Lizbeth Hasse infuse this solo show with elements of his former lives, cleverly employing choreography, a jump rope and a speed bag in the storytelling ... not to mention a live jazz trio. Headed by nimble pianist and musical director Matthew Clark, the musicians provide a rich rhythmic and melodic undercurrent to the show, with a sound that's at times reminiscent of another Bay Area jazz virtuoso, Vince Guaraldi. Director Jeremiah Chechik helps Orrach combine the storytelling with the physicality of the show (such as using the speed bag as a dance partner) and, with lighting designer Briana Pattillo, creates some solid visuals onstage (especially the boxing ring). However, this former pugilist doesn't land as many punches as he ought to; despite his fascinating source material, the show meanders between episodes, lacking a strong enough dramatic throughline to build emotional momentum. Also, other than his father's character, none of the rest of Orrach's family is as well developed in the piece. Still, with some reworking, Orrach and Hasse could potentially turn Joe's multifaceted life experience and talents into a knockout of a show. (Mayank Keshaviah). Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2 p.m. Continues through Nov. 3. Odyssey Theatre, 2055 S. Sepulveda Blvd., Los Angeles, 310-477-2055, www.odysseytheatre.com.

Invisible Cities: Historic meets high tech as audiences equipped with the latest wireless headphones wander through L.A.'s iconic Union Station following dancers and musicians in Invisible Cities. Described as an "invisible opera", the libretto and music by Christopher Cerrone were inspired by a novel by Italo Calvino. Choreographer Danielle Agami and L.A. Dance Project dancers contribute their talents to this innovative twist on the site specific performance. Tuesdays, 7:30 & 10 p.m.; Fri., Nov. 8, 7:30 & 10 p.m.; Fri., Nov. 15, 7:30 & 10 p.m. Continues through Nov. 12, $25. Union Station, 800 N. Alameda St., Los Angeles, 213-683-6897.

Ise Lyfe: Pistols & Prayers: HBO Def Poetry Jam vet Ise Lyfe's provocative multimedia show, which blends spoken word, hip-hop and theater, was cut short after a sensational first act because of technical difficulties. A shame, because I, like the rest of the audience, was looking forward to the second act. Act I was driven by a selection of moody, introspective prose works and poems that survey the terrain of American culture and the black experience, starting with a moving tribute to God and the Ancestors. Lyfe is equal parts poet and street savvy philosophe who has a knack for telling it like it is. In the segment "They Like everything about us, but us," he takes a blowtorch to political correctness and race relations, riffing on the hidden antagonisms between and among ethnic groups. "LOL" is a knee-slapping funny exploration of our enduring obsession with the almighty acronym. (Lovell Estell III). Wednesdays, 8 p.m. Continues through Nov. 27. Greenway Court Theater, 544 N. Fairfax Ave., Los Angeles, 323-655-7679, www.greenwayarts.org.

It's The Biz: A new comedy about the workaday reality of show business from the perspective of two talent agents. Written by Michael Grossman, directed by Paul Fredrix. Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 7 p.m. Continues through Nov. 24. Promenade Playhouse, 1404 Third Street Promenade, Santa Monica, 310-656-8070, www.promenadeplayhouse.com.

Just Imagine: Although the wow factor is missing, aficionados of John Lennon probably will appreciate this tribute to the iconic musician, which juxtaposes renditions of his most famous songs with a narrative of his life. Lennon impersonator and lead singer Tim Piper addresses the audience in a confiding manner as he relates events in Lennon's life -- his troubled boyhood in Liverpool culminating in the death of his mother, up through The Beatles, his marriage to Yoko Ono and his transformation into a family man and spokesman for the counterculture antiwar movement. There are no surprises in writer-director Steve Altman's script, and watching and listening to Piper, an American donning a Liverpool accent, failed to persuade me that I was hearing the real McCoy. That said, Piper's backup band, Working Class Hero, performs well and provides an opportunity for those who wish to reimagine the legend to do so. (323) 960-4442, justimaginetheshow.com. (Deborah Klugman). Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 3 p.m. Continues through Dec. 29. Hayworth Theatre, 2511 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, 310-213-6955, www.thehayworth.com.

Kinetic Theory Circus Arts Halloween Extravaganza: Kinetic Theory is both a professional theater company and a circus/theater training program. The current offering is essentially a pair of Halloween-themed student productions. The Invitation is a series of short sketches performed by the Youth Circus Troupe, ages 8-13. Because they're kids, the charm and cuteness factors loom large, but they also demonstrate impressive skills in mime, gymnastics, back flips and rope jumping (one scrappy little guy, portraying a rambunctious kitten, manages to jump rope on all fours). Dracula: A Symphony of Terror features the preprofessional troupe, ages 13-25. More polished and versatile, they present a mimed version of the Dracula tale with all the familiar characters. Jonathan arrives at the spooky castle to be greeted by the sinister count and a corps de ballet of athletic female vampires. As with any school show, every student must have a moment in the spotlight, but the resulting repetition tends to slow down the story. Still, there's some fine work here, including skillful comic touches, along with juggling, diving through hoops, trapeze work, contortionists, gymnastics and aerial silk work. Matinee performances include both shows; the evening version offers only Dracula. (Neal Weaver). Saturdays, 2 & 8 p.m. Continues through Nov. 2. Kinetic Theory Theatre, 3604 Holdrege Ave., Los Angeles, 310-606-2617, www.kinetictheorytheatre.com.

Lake Anne: Marthe Rachel Gold's lumbering melodrama is a concoction of dramatic setups that never develops into an interesting or credible narrative. Widowed Anne (Laurie O'Brien), a former ballerina, lives with her grown mentally and physically disabled son, Will (Alex Smith), in a house that's been owned by her family for generations. Although it's about to be auctioned off, Anne refuses to sell it when someone makes her a generous direct offer. Meanwhile, Will needs a heart operation that she keeps postponing. (She thinks maybe he's better off dying before she does.) A dalliance with her sister-in-law's son and her dream of resuming her career collapse simultaneously when the man in question returns to his steady girlfriend. Gold's prosaic dialogue and John Frank Levey's lackadaisical direction leave the performers floundering. Act 2 is a bit more compelling, as the play's impending crisis and the loss of her home and lover give O'Brien something solid to work from. NoHo Senior Arts Colony, 10747 Magnolia Blvd., N. Hlywd.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m.; through Nov. 9. roadtheatre.org. (Deborah Klugman). Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2 p.m. Continues through Nov. 9. NoHo Senior Arts Colony, 10747 Magnolia Blvd., Los Angeles.

GO: The Laramie Project: Ten Years Later: The original production of The Laramie Project rode on the wave of passion and grief spawned by the murder of Matthew Shepard. The current work, which looks at Laramie and the related issues as they appear 10 years after the fact, is necessarily more contemplative and thoughtful, but it builds up its own brand of steam. Predictably, opinions of Laramie, Wyo., citizens were all over the place. Some felt that Matthew had been forgotten too quickly, while others felt that his story had become a millstone around the town's neck, fostered by the media. But largely due to a 20/20 broadcast, which ignored the trial evidence and claimed that the murder was not a hate crime but just a drug-infused robbery gone wrong, a softer, less upsetting, revisionist view has been adopted by many local citizens. The script, richly based on actual words of those involved, including murderer Aaron McKinney (Michael Hanson, alternating with Dylan Seaton), and Shepard's mother, Judy (Elizabeth Herron), is acted with passion by 10 wonderfully gifted actors, accompanied by folk singer Johanna Chase. Director Ken Sawyer demonstrates that, although the documentary approach is not sensational, it's nevertheless gripping, effective and deeply affecting. (Neal Weaver). Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 7 p.m. Continues through Nov. 24. Davidson Valentini Theatre, 1125 N. McCadden Place, Los Angeles, 323-860-7300, www.lagaycenter.org.

The Late, Late Show: A supernatural musical taking place in three acts, during the Antebellum South, post-WW II Los Angeles, and the 22nd century. Written by Paul Outlaw, who performs as an African American man born into slavery in 1820 and reborn as a vampire in 1855. Thursdays-Saturdays, 7:30 p.m. Continues through Nov. 23. Bootleg Theater, 2200 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles, 213-389-3856, www.bootlegtheater.org.

GO: The Liar: The anglophone update of Pierre Corneille's 17th-century comedy of manners Le Menteur is a spun confection of verbal sleight of hand, romantic trickery and dramatic derring-do. The real star is David Ives' script, a "translaptation" from the French into pentameter couplets, brought to vivid life by Antaeus' cast (there are two alternating casts, per the company's custom) under Casey Stangl's direction. Compulsive untruth teller Dorante (Graham Hamilton in the performance reviewed) rolls into Paris and quickly ensnares Cliton (Brian Slaten), a guileless manservant, before falling swollen head over insouciant heels in love with Clarice (Kate Maher), whom he mistakes for her tart-tongued friend Lucrece (Ann Noble). Unbeknownst to him, Clarice also is secretly betrothed to Dorante's friend Alcippe (Joe Delafield), and dizzying dramatic contortions ensue. The exuberant cast led by Hamilton pirouettes through the verse, teasing out the comic potential from each witticism and double entendre, though they're somewhat hampered by the length -- come the second act, we've got a hangover brewing from the sugar rush. Angela Balogh Calin's costumes seem inspired by a goth prom: though aesthetically intriguing, their connection to the play's themes isn't obvious. Pine makes an amusingly complicit dupe, while Noble's appealing spunk parries with Hamilton's bravado. (Jenny Lower). Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Saturdays, Sundays, 2 p.m. Continues through Dec. 1. The Antaeus Company and Antaeus Academy, 5112 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood.

The Light Bulb: If there were a genuine laugh anywhere in playwright Joshua Ravetch's stale new satire of cutthroat corporate culture and the moral bankruptcy of the advertising world, director James Mellon's stylish staging and sterling ensemble most certainly would have found it. However, despite its embarrassment of production riches (including Kevin Bailey's austere set, Luke Moyer's accomplished lighting and Connie Tibbetts-Milner's droll costuming), Ravetch's incongruous mix of glibness and sledgehammered melodrama makes Mad Men seem like Molière by comparison. Jon Acosta leads an acid-tongued, backbiting marketing department that is facing cutbacks under its icy new sociopath of an incoming chief (an adept Karesa McElheny). To save their jobs, the team must launch a newly invented perpetual light bulb in a big way. But not even standouts like Irene Roseen or William Rose-Hines can finally sell the tired bill of retreaded tropes and genre clichés that Ravetch tries to pass off as farce. (Bill Raden). Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 3 p.m. Continues through Nov. 9. NoHo Arts Center, 11136 Magnolia Blvd., North Hollywood, 818-763-0086, www.thenohoartscenter.com.

The Lion in Winter: A comedic drama that takes place in King Henry II of England's castle at Chinon, France at Christmastime, 1183. King Henry has three surviving sons by his estranged wife, Eleanor of Aquitaine: Richard (The Lionheart), Geoffrey and John. Henry wants the kingdom to stay united after his death, but all three sons want to rule and it is likely to be torn apart by revolution. Written by James Goldman, directed by Michael Cooper. Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2:30 p.m. Continues through Nov. 16. Sierra Madre Playhouse, 87 W. Sierra Madre Blvd., Sierra Madre, 626-355-4318, www.sierramadreplayhouse.org.

Liquid Love: A musical revue of love songs with established singers, including Lucy Walsh (daughter of The Eagles guitarist Joe Walsh), Chad Doreck, and Gloria Gifford. Saturdays, 8 p.m. Continues through Nov. 9. T.U. Studios, 10943 Camarillo St., North Hollywood, 818-205-1680.

Lone-Anon: This dramedy centers around Lone-Anon, a friendly, positive, court-ordered support group where forming a connection with other people is not only encouraged, it's mandatory. Written by Neil McGowan. Fridays, Saturdays, 10:30 p.m. Continues through Dec. 14. Rogue Machine Theatre, 5041 W. Pico Blvd., Los Angeles, 855-585-5185, www.roguemachinetheatre.com.

The Long Way Home: Reflections on the Tracers Journey: A look back at the conception, creation, and theatrical journey of the landmark Vietnam play Tracers, utilizing poetry, projections, storytelling, and live music. Written by John DiFusco, directed by John Perrin Flynn. Presented by Rogue Machine Theater Company and USVAA. Thursdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 3 p.m. Continues through Nov. 7. USVAA: United States Veterans' Artists Alliance, 10858 Culver Blvd., Culver City, 310-559-2116, www.usvaa.org.

Look Homeward, Angel: Ketti Frings' Pulitzer Prize-winning adaptation of Thomas Wolfe's 1929 novel. A funny and heartbreaking young boy's coming-of-age story that is believed to be about Wolfe's own childhood. Starting Nov. 2, Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 3 p.m. Continues through Dec. 14. Secret Rose Theater, 11246 Magnolia Blvd., North Hollywood, 877-620-7673, www.secretrose.com.

Lost Girls: Idiosyncratic characters, colorful language and clever one-liners don't always make a dramedy click. John Pollono's latest play is set in working-class New England and revolves around a divorced single mom, Maggie (Jennifer Pollono), who wakes one snowy morning to discover her car and teenage daughter, Erica (Anna Theoni DiGiovanni), missing. A call to law enforcement triggers a visit from Maggie's ex, Lou (Joshua Bitton), a state trooper. Accompanying him is his attractive second wife, Penny (Kirsten Kollender), whose presence fuels an already flammable mix of past resentments, not only between Lou and Maggie but between Maggie and her malcontent mom, Linda (Peggy Dunne). Director John Perrin Flynn has a skilled ensemble, but their talents don't coalesce into a believable narrative. The main problem is the plot's awkward contrivances. The production is often entertaining, but the many loose ends suggest it's been rushed to production prematurely. (Deborah Klugman). Saturdays, 5 p.m.; Sundays, 7 p.m.; Mondays, 8 p.m.; Mon., Nov. 4, 8 p.m.; Mondays, 8 p.m. Continues through Dec. 16. Rogue Machine Theatre, 5041 W. Pico Blvd., Los Angeles, 855-585-5185, www.roguemachinetheatre.com.

Love on San Pedro: From the benches of San Julian Park to the walls of a raucous karaoke hall, Cornerstone's fourth play in The Hunger Cycle weaves an unlikely love story. Shunned by her community, Marjorie's weariness drags time to a near standstill. But when she's wooed by a man whose hope and hoop-shots know no bounds, her world speeds up fast. Of the 26 actors in Love on San Pedro, four are professional actors and 22 are community members. The majority of the community actors reside in Skid Row and are experiencing being on stage for the first time. The play is part of The Hunger Cycle, a nine-play series about hunger, justice and food equity issues, involving hundreds of residents from across the city and state. Presented by the Cornerstone Theater Company. Written by James McManus, directed by Shishir Kurup. Starting Nov. 7, Wednesdays, Thursdays, 6 p.m.; Fridays, Saturdays, 7:30 p.m.; Sundays, 2:30 p.m. Continues through Nov. 24. Los Angeles Mission College Gymnasium, 13356 Eldridge, Sylmar, 818-364-7660.

GO: Lovecraft: Nightmare Suite: Six strange tales of monsters, mayhem, and cosmic horrors brought to life through a combination of storytelling, puppetry, and shadow play. All text is taken directly from the short fiction, essays, and poetry of the godfather of modern horror, H.P. Lovecraft. Conceived and directed by Dan Spurgeon.

Tickets & info: 323-871-1150 or thevisceralcompany.com. Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 3 p.m. Continues through Nov. 3. Lex Theatre, 6760 Lexington Ave., Los Angeles, 323-871-1150.


Love's Labour's Lost: This early comedy of Shakespeare's takes place in the Kingdom of Navarre, where Liege Ferdinand (Jeremy Lelliott) and Lords Berowne, Dumaine and Longaville (Michael Faulkner, John Klopping, TJ Marchbank) forswear the company of the fairer sex for three years, fasting and studying, while they pursue the loftier regions of philosophy and art. They succeed -- for about five minutes -- until the French Princess (Sammi Smith) arrives with her trio of attractive attendants (Julianne Donelle, Emelie O'Hara and, at the performance reviewed, Kylie Wills standing in for Madeline Harris), after which celibacy and ascetic hardships go out the window. This is not one of the Bard's strongest plays. It's bursting with excess dialogue, has clunky plot divertissements, and even has a painfully protracted play-within-a play segment. Director Ted Barton doesn't ameliorate these problems, and thus a play that clocks in at a little over two hours feels like four. Cast performances, on balance, are good. (Lovell Estell III). Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 7 p.m. Continues through Nov. 10. Second Stage Theater, 6500 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles.

Moskva: Written by the LA Weekly's own Steven Leigh Morris, this comic, macabre fantasy is based on the Russian novel The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov. On a hot spring afternoon, the Devil and his entourage, trailing fire and chaos in their wake, emerge from the shadows of the underworld and weave themselves into the absurd and brutal realities of contemporary Moscow. Contains nudity. Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 4 p.m. Continues through Dec. 15. City Garage at Bergamot Station Arts Center, 2525 Michigan Ave., Santa Monica, 310-453-9939, www.citygarage.org.

The Mystery of Irma Vep: a penny dreadful: A comedic romp in a haunted estate that includes a vampire attack, a werewolf hunt and a journey to an ancient Egyptian tomb. The laughs erupt as a mystery unfolds in this side-splitting spoof of horror movies. Written by Charles Ludlam, directed by Jenny Sullivan. Wednesdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 4 p.m. Continues through Nov. 17. Falcon Theatre, 4252 Riverside Drive, Burbank, 818-955-8101, www.falcontheatre.com.

Night & Dave: A funny and touching one- man show about writer and actor David Trudell's evolution from being marked as different in kindergarten to taking ownership of his identity in the midst of turbulence and hilariousness. Directed by Michael Kearns. Fri., Nov. 1, 8 p.m.; Sat., Nov. 2, 8 p.m.; Sun., Nov. 3, 3 p.m. Malibu Playhouse, 29243 Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu, 310-589-1998, www.malibuplayhouse.org.

GO: The Normal Heart: When the AIDS plague emerged in 1981, writer-activist Larry Kramer was devastated to learn that the larger society wasn't remotely concerned that gay men were dying by the thousands, and the gay community was refusing to admit its own responsibility. He set out to call the world to account, and tell unpopular truths to power. Driven by his own passionate concern, he launched ham-fisted attacks in all directions, making himself hated and resented. But in his semi-autobiographical play The Normal Heart, he is considerably defter, capturing the absurdity as well as the courage of his surrogate, Ned Weeks (Tim Cummings), and making his story a chronicle of the times. He reminds us of how terrifying AIDS was when nobody knew what it was, how it was spread or how to avoid it. Director Simon Levy has mounted a deeply moving production at the Fountain Theatre, bathed in the compassion without which it would be merely a horror story, and performed by a deeply committed ensemble. Cummings captures the desperation of a man who cares so much he's incapable of tact or coherence, and Bill Brochtrup ably renders the charm and ultimate disintegration of his lover, Felix. Lisa Pelikan, Matt Gottlieb, Fred Koehler, Verton R. Banks and the rest of the cast provide terrific support. (Neal Weaver). Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2 p.m.; Thu., Nov. 14, 8 p.m.; Thu., Nov. 21, 8 p.m.; Thu., Dec. 5, 8 p.m.; Thu., Dec. 12, 8 p.m. Continues through Dec. 15. Fountain Theatre, 5060 Fountain Ave., Los Angeles, 323-663-1525, www.fountaintheatre.com.

The Pain and the Itch: Playwright Bruce Norris' dark satire about upper-middle-class, white American triviality is a difficult pill to swallow, with his trenchant, discursive dialogue often being as bitter as pickle brine and his characters as twisted as pretzels. It's Thanksgiving in the Pacific Palisades home of a seemingly contented upper-middle-class family, but everyone truly loathes one another. Young dad Clay (Eric Hunicutt) and his ferociously aggressive lawyer wife, Kelly (Beverly Hynds), simmer with rage at each other, while some kind of a mysterious monster upstairs runs amok, sickening their young daughter. In Norris' drama, the monster appears to be a metaphor for the family's moral rot but, notwithstanding the keen wit of the writing, there's something one-note about the shrill situations and endless spite. Nevertheless, director Jennifer Chambers' taut production crackles with energy and rage, and assured, often harrowing performances are offered by Hynds in portraying the hateful and hate-filled Kelly, Hunicutt as the seething Clay, and April Adams as the casually monstrous, visiting mother-in-law. (Paul Birchall). Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 7 p.m. Continues through Dec. 1. Zephyr Theater, 7456 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles, 323-852-9111.

Pericles, Prince of Tyre: William Shakespeare's adventurous tale of Pericles, King Antiochus, and Dionyza, the King's daughter. Directed by Julia Rodriguez-Elliott. See Stage feature: http://www.laweekly.com/2013-09-12/stage/miss-julie-dream-project-pericles/full/. Thu., Nov. 7, 7:30 p.m.; Sun., Nov. 24, 2 & 7 p.m. A Noise Within, 3352 E. Foothill Blvd., Pasadena, 626-356-3100, www.anoisewithin.org.

GO: The Player King: The name John Wilkes Booth isn't likely to be forgotten, but many are unaware that the infamous assassin was part of an accomplished family of actors. In this solo show, Darin Dahms brings the Booth clan to life. Drawing on historical and biographical material, Dahms constructs what is mostly a commanding portrait of the Booths. It touches on the drunken, tormented theatrical genius of patriarch Junius Brutus; his problematic, strained relationship with second son Edwin -- who at age 13 traveled with his father as a caretaker -- and the dissolute, and fatefully disillusioned, John, whose final performance in the theater was his most memorable. One of the more gripping segments of the show, and the most dynamically scripted, tells of the day of Lincoln's assassination, and the dark, chaotic aftermath. Dahms is a talented, engaging performer, and he's at his best when channeling these characters or delivering one of many splendid soliloquies from the Bard's more famous works (King Lear, Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet). His performance more than offsets a script that tends to flit about and needs greater coherency and context. (Lovell Estell III). Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m. Continues through Nov. 2. The Met Theatre, 1089 N. Oxford Ave., Los Angeles, 323-957-1152, www.themettheatre.com.

Play/Time: Six writers will each write a new short play for a group of actors every week for six weeks. Each week features different plays so every show will be different. When all is said and done, Theatre Unleashed will have written and produced 36 new works. Part of the Late Night series. Saturdays, 10 p.m. Continues through Nov. 9. Crown City Theatre, 11031 Camarillo St., North Hollywood, 818-605-5685, www.crowncitytheatre.com.

Rabbit Hole: Becca and Howie Corbett have everything a family could want, until an accident turns their world upside down and leaves the couple drifting perilously apart. Written by David Lindsay-Abaire, directed by Michael Matthews. Saturdays, Sundays, 2 p.m.; Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Wednesdays, Thursdays, 7:30 p.m. Continues through Nov. 17. La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts, 14900 La Mirada Blvd., La Mirada, 562-944-9801, www.lamiradatheatre.com.

GO: The Rainmaker: A con-man/drifter walks into a small town, usually in the Midwest, and seduces a vulnerable local female. He not only seduces her, he awakens her to her true self and potential, which the opinions of others -- her family and society -- have been suffocating. Oh, brother. Get the broom and sweep off the cobwebs. In lesser hands than director Jack Heller's, watching The Rainmaker would be like trudging through a slightly dank, primeval marsh without rubber boots -- the kind of experience where you might say, "Well, isn't this historic and curious. Where can I dry my socks?" The production is saved in part by its linchpin, Tanna Frederick's droll, rat-smart Lizzie. With subtlety and composure that often belies the text, she knows who she is and what she wants. Though the play is over-written, Frederick's performance lies so entrenched beneath the lines, it's as though she absorbs the play's excesses so that they don't even show. Her terrific performance is not enough to turn the play into a classic, but it does provide enough of an emotional pull to reveal the reasons why it keeps getting staged. (Steven Leigh Morris). Fridays, Saturdays, 7:30 p.m.; Sundays, 5 p.m. Continues through Dec. 22. Edgemar Center for the Arts, 2437 Main St., Santa Monica, 310-399-3666, www.edgemarcenter.org.

GO: the road weeps, the well runs dry: There are glints of the Oresteia in Marcus Gardley's poetic, sweeping drama, the road weeps, the well runs dry, which takes place in a 19th-century Oklahoma town settled by fleeing African-American freedmen and their Native American cohabitants. The story's tragic chain of events erupts around the searing rivalry between the community's swaggering Native American sheriff, Trowbridge (Darrell Dennis), and his implacable enemy, Number Two (Demetrius Grosse), a dark and violent man. When their children fall in love, Number Two brutally and without compunction murders his rival's son, whereupon drought settles on the land, followed by additional cruel and heartrending events. The play's grim narrative is leavened by its all-too-human characters and their laughable foils: a feckless preacher (Darryl Alan Reed) functions as a spineless companion to his fanatical wife (Nakia Secrest); an ineffectual shaman (Brent Jennings) keeps up his dancing long after its senselessness becomes clear. As a fount of evil, Grosse simmers in Act I and scorches in Act II. The rest of the ensemble shines as well, especially Monnae Michaell as Trowbridge's angry widow, a woman of mighty magic who ultimately proves to be Number Two's nemesis. Designer Frederica Nascimento's bleak but striking set and Bruno Louchouarn's haunting music and sound frame the spectacle. Shirley Jo Finney's direction displays her accomplished hand. (Deborah Klugman). Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Saturdays, Sundays, 3 p.m. Continues through Nov. 17. Los Angeles Theatre Center, 514 S. Spring St., Los Angeles, www.thelatc.org.

Seascape with Sharks and Dancer: A romantic comedy-drama, written by Don Nigro, about a love affair between calm Ben and volatile Tracy. Fridays, 8 p.m.; Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 4 p.m.; Sun., Nov. 24, 4 p.m.; Fridays, 8 p.m.; Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 4 p.m. Continues through Dec. 15. The Black Box Theater, 12420 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles, 310-979-7078.

Shakespeare's VILLAINS: A play focusing on three of Shakespeare's villains, Shylock, Macbeth Macbeth), and Tybalt, using Shakespeare's original words. Adaptation by Brian Elerding. Presented by the California Shakespeare Ensemble. Sundays, 8 p.m. Continues through Nov. 17. Lineage Performing Arts Center, 89 S. Fair Oaks Ave., Pasadena, 626-844-7008, www.lineagedance.org.

Smoke and Mirrors: A semi-autobiographical, fantastical coming-of-age story about a boy who uses magic to escape reality after the death of his father. Interweaving illusions, special effects, and audience participation, themes of love, loss and magic are explored in this highly stylized show. Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 3 p.m. Continues through Dec. 29. Lankershim Arts Center, 5108 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood, 818-752-7568, www.lankershimartscenter.com.

Snow White: Musical fun for the whole family. Book, music and lyrics by Carol Weiss. Musical Direction by Bill Brown. Directed by Todd Nielsen. Presented by the Nine O'Clock Players. Starting Nov. 3, Saturdays, Sundays, 2 p.m. Continues through Nov. 24. Assistance League Playhouse, 1367 N. St. Andrews, Los Angeles, 323-469-1970, www.assistanceleague.net.

Something to Crow About: The Bob Baker Marionettes' musical "Day on the Farm." Saturdays, Sundays, 2:30 p.m.; Tuesdays-Fridays, 10:30 a.m. Bob Baker Marionette Theater, 1345 W. First St., Los Angeles, 213-250-9995, www.bobbakermarionettes.com.

Eat Your Words: A live storytelling event in the tradition of The Moth and This American Life, hosted by Greg Walloch. These stories are inspired by a food theme: food politics, the best meal you ever ate, a food memory. Thu., Nov. 7, 8 p.m.; Thu., Dec. 5, 8 p.m. The Standard Hollywood, 8300 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood, 323-650-9090, www.standardhotels.com.

A Strange Disappearance of Bees: Written by Elena Hartwell, this show takes the audience through a honeycomb of relationship and revelations as five characters (a Beekeeper, a baker, a Vietnam Vet, a farmer and a stranger to town) search for identity while bees disappear around them. A production of the Collaborative Artists Ensemble. Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 7 p.m. Continues through Nov. 17. Raven Playhouse, 5233 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood, 818-720-2009, www.ravenplayhouse.com.

Sunny Afternoon: Fifty years after the assassination of JFK, this story examines the mysteriously unrecorded 48 hours Lee Harvey Oswald was in the custody of Police Captain William Fritz, before the assassin himself was murdered. Written and directed by Christian Levatino. Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 3 p.m. Continues through Dec. 1. Theatre Asylum, 6320 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles, 323-962-1632, www.theatreasylum-la.com.

Sunset Limited: A drama about two strangers who meet under extraordinary circumstances, written by Pulitzer Prize-winner Cormac McCarthy. After an encounter on a subway platform, Black, a religious ex-con, and White, a suicidal professor, begin an intense dialogue about human suffering, the existence of God, and the meaning of life. Saturdays, Sundays, 2 p.m.; Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m. Continues through Nov. 17. Rubicon Theatre Company, 1006 E. Main St., Ventura, 805-667-2900.

The Sunshine Boys: Taxi stars Danny DeVito and Judd Hirsch reunite to perform as two reuniting vaudevillians in Neil Simon's 1972 classic comedy. See Stage feature: http://www.laweekly.com/2013-10-10/stage/sunshine-boys-ahmanson-theatre/full/. Tuesdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Saturdays, 2 p.m.; Sun., Nov. 3, 1 p.m. Continues through Nov. 3. Ahmanson Theatre, 135 N. Grand Ave., Los Angeles, 213-628-2772, www.centertheatregroup.org.

Theatre of Terror Haunted House: Enter the world of deranged director Maxwell Wyczeck, who was believed to have burned to death in a fire he started at the theater in October 1963. Fifty years later, residents of South Pasadena have been haunted by strange flyers, hinting that the director has returned to the city for one final killer production. Fri., Nov. 1, 6:30-11 p.m.; Sat., Nov. 2, 6:30-11 p.m. Fremont Centre Theatre, 1000 Fremont Ave., South Pasadena, 626-441-5977, www.fremontcentretheatre.com.

Titus Andronicus: Shakespeare's horrendous and bloody tragedy is reworked in Grand Guignol fashion, in which Roman conquerors become gothic Victorian vampires. Adapted and directed by Steven Sabel. Saturdays, Sundays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2 p.m. Continues through Nov. 24. Archway Studio/Theatre, 305 S. Hewitt St., Los Angeles, 213-237-9933, www.archwayla.com.

GO: Tracers: In the 1980s, author-director John DiFusco, along with a group of other veterans of the Vietnam War, conceived and executed the play Tracers, channeling their military experiences into what would become one of the most important dramas written about the war. Thirty years on, war is still hell -- and DiFusco and a new ensemble, all veterans of more recent wars and military actions, have reprised the work in a powerful new production that's every bit as harrowing as the original. In part that's because the original show's therapeutic underpinnings are downplayed in favor of a more dynamic depiction of what war is actually like on a human level. Tracers centers on the experiences of a group of archetypal soldiers who progress from enlistment to cannon fodder. The actor-veteran cast's military experiences flavor the production in often subtle ways, from the articulated terror of mustering in boot camp, to the crisp and chillingly authentic sequences in which plodding patrols erupt into blood-soaked violence. Particularly compelling turns in DiFusco's vital production are offered by Trevor Scott's likable Everyman soldier Dinky Dau, Jaimyon Parker's world-weary army medic, and Christopher DeVinny's nicely conflicted Professor. (Paul Birchall). Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m. Continues through Nov. 9. USVAA: United States Veterans' Artists Alliance, 10858 Culver Blvd., Culver City, 310-559-2116, www.usvaa.org.

Trust: For the debut offering at their new home, the former itinerants of Theatre Unleashed have adapted Steven Dietz's apt drama about relational instability among creative 20-somethings. Despite committed performances, the matrix of unlikely friendships doesn't always gel into credible pairings. Rolling Stone cover boy Cody's (Michael Galante) engagement to pre-fame fiancee Becca (Michelle Hasson) hits the skids when he seeks out Leah (Leah Verrill), a tough-as-nails musician chewed up by the industry a decade before. Becca confides in bridal designer Gretchen (Liesl Jackson) as kleptomaniac public radio DJ Roy (Anthony Rutowicz) tries to woo Holly (Fernanda Vazquez), a callow heartbreaker with a smile like a knife. Galante and Verrill are especially good as the sultry rockers, but Becca's bisexual conversion feels driven solely by dramatic convenience, while Hasson and Jackson's tepid chemistry dampens the romantic tension. Director Scott Marden and Jackson have softened Gretchen's alternative edge, while Hasson struggles to navigate Becca's exasperating vagaries. (818) 849-4039, theatreunleashed.com. (Jenny Lower). Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m. Continues through Nov. 9, (818) 849-4039, theatreunleashed.com. The Belfry Stage, Upstairs at the Crown, 11031 Camarillo St., North Hollywood.

Tylerr Perry Superstar: Jeremy Evans' and Brandon Kirks' one-act satirical comedy about Tylerr Perry and his stop-at-nothing approach to winning an Oscar. Fridays, 8 p.m. Continues through Nov. 22. Promenade Playhouse, 1404 Third Street Promenade, Santa Monica, 310-656-8070, www.promenadeplayhouse.com.

Urban Death: Tour of Terror Haunted Theater Attraction: An interactive haunted Halloween theatrical attraction, steering theater-goers through a terrifying "Urban Death" maze of inexplicable horrors and disturbed spirits. Directed by Zombie Joe and Jana Wimer. Fridays, Saturdays, 8:30, 9:15, 10, 10:45 & 11:30 p.m. Continues through Nov. 2. Zombie Joe's Underground Theatre, 4850 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood, 818-202-4120, zombiejoes.homestead.com.

A View From the Bridge: Many consider Arthur Miller's dramas moral tragedies, but you also can think of them as mysteries, as their narratives contain events whose true meaning only becomes clear at the end. Longshoreman Eddie (Vince Melocchi) is a salt-of-the-earth type who thinks he's doing a good deed when he lets a pair of his wife's distant cousins, both illegal immigrants from the old country, move in with his family. He soon has reason to rue this decision, though, as his lovely niece, Catherine (Lisa Cirincione), falls in love with the more handsome of the two cousins, Rodolpho (Jeff Lorch) -- and Eddie is destroyed by his own inexplicably over-the-top jealousy. This is a mostly powerful, admirably straightforward production by co-directors Marilyn Fox and Dana Jackson, which stumbles slightly during the clumsy, frenetically staged final sequence. The production is anchored by Melocchi's nicely gruff Eddie, whose turn suggests a character swept along by passions he lacks the articulacy to express. (Paul Birchall). Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 3 p.m.; Thursdays, 8 p.m. Continues through Nov. 24. Pacific Resident Theatre, 703 Venice Blvd., Venice, 310-822-8392, www.pacificresidenttheatre.com.

Wait Until Dark: A new stage adaptation of the classic thriller about the contents of Susan and Sam Hendrix' apartment. Written by Frederick Knott, adapted by Jeffrey Hatcher. Tuesdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Saturdays, 3 p.m.; Sundays, 2 & 7 p.m. Continues through Nov. 17. Geffen Playhouse, 10886 Le Conte Ave., Los Angeles, 310-208-5454, www.geffenplayhouse.com.

We Got Lucky: Allen C. Gardner's new play about a Southern California bromance that becomes strained during life's changes. Fridays-Sundays, 8 p.m. Continues through Nov. 3. Working Stage Theater, 1516 N. Gardner St., Los Angeles, 323-521-8600, www.workingstage.com.

West Fest: Four weekends of adventurous theatrical productions as Theatre West. Visit www.theatrewest.org for complete schedule and line-up. Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2 p.m. Continues through Nov. 24. Theatre West, 3333 Cahuenga Blvd. W., Los Angeles, 323-851-7977, www.theatrewest.org.

When You Wish: The Story of Walt Disney: A musical about the life of Walt Disney, with music and book by Dean McClure. Wednesdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Saturdays, Sundays, 2 p.m. Continues through Nov. 3. UCLA Freud Playhouse, 245 Charles E Young Drive E, Los Angeles, 310-825-2101.

Why I Died, a Comedy!: Actor, writer, and comedian Katie Rubin's new solo show about navigating a deep spiritual awakening in the face of a hilariously pushy producer, an intense writing deadline, a codependent mugger, and a bevy of false prophets. Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m. Continues through Nov. 23. Hudson Theatres, 6539 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles.

GO: Wild in Wichita: Like the recent film Enough Said, Lina Gallegos' award-winning play explores courtship and love from a mature perspective: that of two septuagenarians in a Kansas nursing home. Carmela (Denise Blasor) and Joaquin (Sal Lopez) have been put in this home "temporarily" by their respective children, Raul (Alberto de Diego) and Lillian (Crissy Guerrero), and at the outset the elder two mix like aceite y agua. Carmela is Puerto Rican, educated and buttoned-up. Joaquin is Mexican, working-class and a bit of a rascal. But they both love music, food and each other's company, though Carmela does her best to resist Joaquin's advances. His attempts to convince her to "rage, rage against the dying of the light" are beautiful to watch, because it reminds us that the young don't hold a monopoly on vitality. Blasor, who also directs, skillfully plays Carmela's mannerly façade, revealing just enough to hint at her deep insecurities. Lopez, who has some of the best lines in the show, delivers much humor through his charming, easy manner. Guerrero and de Diego give fine performances as well. Carolina Ortiz's minimalist backdrop, combined with John A. Garofalo's lighting, evokes the windswept, wide open spaces of the Midwest, and Blasor's use of songs and movement during transitions reflects the poetic quality of this heartwarming work. (Mayank Keshaviah). Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Saturdays, Sundays, 3 p.m. Continues through Nov. 3. Los Angeles Theatre Center, 514 S. Spring St., Los Angeles, www.thelatc.org.

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