Family Devotions Closing (Theater and Galleries) The Short List (Theater)

When: Thursdays-Sundays. Continues through Sept. 4 2011

David Henry Hwang's 1981 dark comedy works best when nothing is happening. For much of the first act Hwang strands his characters--three generations of a Chinese-American family, gathered to greet a long-lost relative from Communist China--in an all-glass Bel Air house where they do little but demonstrate their odd, telling quirks. It should make for lousy theater, but Hwang's imagination is so keen that he turns stasis into a fascinating, hilarious sociological study. In act two, though, he manufactures an absurd, metaphor-heavy family meltdown, and sharp observation gives way to overdetermined mayhem. Jenn Adams's breathless Halcyon Theatre production can't solve the script's problems, especially with an uneven cast, and Tony Adams's bare-bones set turns an upscale home into the aesthetic equivalent of a double-wide. --Justin Hayford

Price: $10-$25

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