Play by play: February 19, 2010

By JEFFREY GANTZ  |  February 17, 2010

NOT ENOUGH AIR | The Nora Theatre Company presents the East Coast premiere of this work by local playwright Masha Obolensky about how journalist Sophie Treadwell came to write her 1928 play Machinal, which is a fictionalized version of the life, trial, and execution of Queens housewife Ruth Snyder, who was convicted of murdering her husband. Melia Bensussen directs; the cast includes Anne Gottlieb (as Treadwell), Ruby Rose Fox, Marianna Bassham, Grant MacDermott, Craig Mathers, and Billy Meleady. | Central Square Theater, 450 Mass Ave, Cambridge | 866.811.4111 orwww.centralsquaretheater.org| Through March 14 | Curtain 7:30 pm Wed-Thurs | 8 pm Fri-Sat | 2 pm Sun | $35; $25 seniors; $20 students

ONE FLEA SPARE | Naomi Wallace's 1995 drama about an unlikely quartet of humans thrown together in a 1665 London laid low by the bubonic plague had its local premiere from New Repertory Theatre in 2001; now it gets an outing from Whistler in the Dark. The play (which takes its name from John Donne's poem "The Flea") is the recollection of a precocious, disarmingly fearless child named Morse, who escapes the plague nightmare by tumbling through a broken window into the home of quarantined bureaucrat William Snelgrave and his clenched wife, Darcy. They are about to be sprung when Morse and a "common sailor" named Bunce break in, subjecting the Snelgraves to another month's entrapment. So for 28 strained days, the odd foursome are thrown together, their only outside contact a scabrous watchman named Kabe, who offers, between scurrilous ditties, regular updates of the death toll and "sugar nuts" for sexual favors. Meg Taintor directs; Ben Chase, Jeff Gill, Curt Klump, Lorna Nogueira, and Jennifer O'Connor make up the cast. | Factory Theatre, 791 Tremont St, Boston | 800.838.3006 | Through February 21 | Curtain 7:30 pm Thurs | 8 pm Fri-Sat | 3 pm Sun | $20; $10 students

PRIVATE FEARS IN PUBLIC PLACES | Zeitgeist Stage Company brings us Alan Ayckbourn's 2004 play about six Londoners in various stages of desperation. "Does Nicola still love Dan? Will Dan stop his endless pub-going days and look for a job? Can Stewart, Nicola's real-estate agent, be on the verge of an office romance with Charlotte? What on earth is Charlotte up to on her second-shift job with her bedridden patient? Will Imogen, Stewart's middle-aged sister, ever find true love in the personal ads? Does Ambrose, Dan's bartender, have a secret life?" The play was adapted by Alain Resnais into his 2006 film Cœurs, which just screened at the Harvard Film Archive; here's it's directed by David J. Miller, with a cast of Robert Bonotto, Shelley Brown, Michael Steven Costello, Becca A. Lewis, Christine Power, and Bill Salem. | Boston Center for the Arts Plaza Black Box Theatre, 539 Tremont St, Boston | 617.933.8600 orwww.BostonTheatreScene.com| Through March 6 | Curtain 7:30 pm Wed-Thurs | 8 pm Fri | 4 + 8 pm Sat | 4 pm Sun | $30; $20 students, seniors

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