Play by Play: March 20, 2009

By CAROLYN CLAY  |  March 18, 2009

PERICLES | MIT Shakespeare Ensemble takes on the Bard's peripatetic late romance, in which the Prince of Tyre endures more than one shipwreck and the loss of his wife and daughter. | Sala de Puerto Rico, Stratton Student Center [second floor], 84 Mass Ave, Cambridge | 617.253.2903 | Through March 21 | Curtain 8 pm Thurs-Sat | $9; $6 students

THE PLAYBOY OF THE WESTERN WORLD | Wellesley Summer Theatre Company comes out of hibernation to present Irish playwright John Millington Synge's 1907 masterpiece about a young man who wanders into a rural Irish backwater and becomes a local celebrity by boasting that he's killed his da. Nora Hussey directs a cast that includes Shelley Bolman, John Davin, Derek Stone-Nelson, and Lewis Wheeler. | Schneider Center Theatre, Wellesley College campus, 106 Central St, Wellesley | 781.283.2000 | Through March 29 | Curtain 7 pm Thurs | 8 pm Fri | 3 + 8 pm Sat | 3 pm Sun | $20; $10 students, seniors

THE SECRET RAPTURE | Artistic director Curt Columbus is at the helm of this well-acted Trinity Repertory Company revival of British writer David Hare's 1988 work, a critique of Thatcherite Britain, with its "sanctification of greed," wrapped into a dysfunctional-family drama. You can't say the work's not relevant. But unlike Hare's subtler mixes of the political and the personal, this one wears its didacticism on a caricatured sleeve that, halfway through, sprouts melodrama like a big ruffle. The focus is on two bereaved sisters, one the bohemian owner of a graphic-design business, the other a junior minister in Thatcher's army married to a Christian entrepreneur who uses Jesus as his business model. On top of their other differences, the siblings must deal with the vulgar, alcoholic loose cannon of a second wife who appears to have enlivened dead Dad's sunset years. The play means to illumine the way in which neither modest do-gooderism nor hard-nosed Tory aggression can control the damage wrought by human emotion and instability. But Hare, for all of his eloquence and wit, paints most of the characters as two-dimensional villains and boobs. The production, though, is fervent, atmospheric, and fleet. | Trinity Repertory Company, 201 Washington St, Providence, Rhode Island | 401.351.4242 | Through March 29 | Curtain 7:30 pm Tues-Fri | 2 + 7:30 pm Sat | 2 pm [March 29] + 7:30 pm Sun | $20-$60

SEX, DRUGS, ROCK & ROLL | Boston Actors Theater presents an ensemble production of Eric Bogosian's fiery collection of monologues, in which men deal with everything from addiction to dog shit, egg salad, Range Rovers, and animal porn. "You know, just like you and me." | Factory Theatre, 791 Tremont St, Boston | 866.811.4111 | Through March 22 | Curtain 8 pm Fri-Sat | 2 pm Sun | $15; $10 students with ID

SNOW ANGEL | The newly formed East Boston troupe Teatro Mariposa Azul presents Lewis John Carlino's one-act play, which "involves two characters, Connie, a prostitute, and Jane, a woman who pays to see Connie and tries to convince her to re-enact the moment Jane met her true love." | 80 Border Street Cultural Exchange Center, East Boston | 80borderstreet.org | Through March 27 | Curtain 8 pm Fri | $10 donation

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