THE EMANCIPATION OF MANDY & MIZ ELLIE | Local playwright and director and Company One member Lois Roach created this drama about two women who’re brought together by the Emancipation Proclamation. The story is told “through live percussion, rhythmic movement, and the songs of freedom”; the production will feature Roxbury’s OrigiNation Dance Troupe. Victoria Marsh directs. | Boston Center for the Arts, Plaza Theatre, 539 Tremont St, Boston | 617.933.8600 | Through May 22 | Curtain 7:30 pm Thurs | 8 pm Fri-Sat | $30-$38; $30 seniors; $15 students | $18 Wednesdays

FAMILY STORIES | Whistler in the Dark closes its fifth season with Serbian playwright Biljana Srbljanovic’s 1998 work, which uses a quartet of adult actors playing children playing house to paint a grotesque Punch & Judy portrait of trickle-down, war-numbed life under corrupt, nationalist dictator Slobodan Milosevic. The play, which got its North American premiere from Cambridge’s short-lived Market Theatre back in 2002, is episodic and somewhat repetitive, and the attempt to override cruel comedy with tragedy at the end feels forced. But like its harsh, adult-mocking pubescents playing Donna Reed on a dung heap, Family Stories packs a punch. Meg Taintor directs; Melissa Barker, Danny Bryck, Nate Gundy, and Jen O’Connor are in the cast. | Factory Theatre, 791 Tremont St, Boston | Through May 30 | Curtain 7:30 pm Wed-Thurs | 8 pm Fri-Sat | 3 pm Sun | $20; $10 students

FARRAGUT NORTH | Zeitgeist Stage Company gives us Beau Willimon’s 2008 peek into the dark closets of a burgeoning presidential campaign as 25-year-old press secretary Stephen Bellamy, flacking for a Howard Dean–like inspirational aspirant to the Oval Office, makes his slip from golden boy to whipping boy, all in the course of about 36 hours leading up to the Iowa caucuses. Devoid of the scabrous poetry, if not the ball busting, of David Mamet’s Speed-the-Plow and Glengarry Glen Ross, Farragut North — named for a DC metro stop in the lobbyist neighborhood where failed politicos wind up — may have one or two too many table turnings, and the writing is nothing to write home about. But the play keeps you on the edge of your seat, as what at first seems a small skid on a political road trip turns into a train wreck generating multiple career fatalities. David J. Miller utilizes characteristically minimal stage dressing, a credible non-Equity cast, and the intimacy of the BCA’s Plaza Black Box — where every confrontation resonates — to spin a cautionary tale of civic principle roasted on a spit of ambition, indiscretion, and just plain spite. | Boston Center for the Arts, Plaza Black Box Theatre, 539 Tremont St, Boston | 617.933.8600 | Through May 22 | Curtain 7:30 pm Thurs | 8 pm Fri | 4 + 8 pm Sat | $30; $20 students, seniors

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