Now stuck out in Barstow, Gabriela (Carolina Phipps) has nine years of solitude to go before her GI husband, Benito (Ruben Ortiz), returns stateside for good, and they might rekindle some of the swirling passion that led to their marriage. Gabriela’s fixed house cat (Elysa Gomez) can’t decide whether it’s too dangerous to take a romantic risk on the Coyote (Sam Sagheb) who’s been courting her, while the stylish man in the moon (Koco Limbevski) competes with the horny, teenage next-door neighbor (Julian Works) for Gabriela’s affections. Obviously employing a fair degree of fantasia, José Rivera’s oft-produced play is mainly a study in Gabriela’s slowly growing up and trying to expand her intellectual horizons, while Benito remains cloistered in recollections of the first Gulf War, using Gabriela as a sex toy to escape those hellish memories. Life is a dream. Will Pellegrini’s production hangs on the forceful intelligence and sweet sensuality of Phipps’ Puerto Rican Gabriela, and her growing gulf of incomprehension for her husband. Ortiz plays that role with an appealing and persuasive mix of practicality, sensitivity and hard-headedness. It’s that difficult paradox of modern marriage that grounds this production and lends it such appeal. Resa Deverich’s conceptual set of carrier platforms provides an openness in which Rivera’s surrealism, and our imagination, can tumble unencumbered by the detritus of TV sets and couches.
Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Wed., April 30, 8 p.m. Starts: April 10. Continues through May 2, 2008

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