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A Bad Friend: Jules Feiffer's memory play about Brooklyn in the Fifties resounds as a cautionary tale for the United States in the 21st Century. This terrific production directed by Joseph Adler is both ambitious and intimate, a provocative series of family snapshots that evokes the history of an era. It's about McCarthyism, the Hollywood blacklist, lost illusions, and regaining hope. It's about a young girl's coming of age and perhaps about a nation losing its way. Written in 2003, the story is fitting for a time when the extreme right is playing on a people's fears and hatreds, narrowly redefining patriotism as evangelical zeal in full flower, banishing responsible dissent ruthlessly, and challenging every dissenter's own patriotism in ways that make McCarthy's despicable antics of the Fifities seem positively tame. Starring Avi Hoffman, Lauren Feldman, Tracey Moore, Andy Quiroga, Kevin Reilley, and Nick Velkov. -- Octavio Roca Through June 26. GableStage, 1200 Anastasia Ave., Coral Gables; 305-446-1116.
The Good German: David Wiltse's 2003 drama depicting a German couple who shelter a Jewish publisher during Hitler's era features plenty of articulate debate about prejudice and personal responsibility. However all the talk fails to spark a dramatic fire. Louis Tyrell's production is solid if not stellar with a skilled acting ensemble backed by a set design comprising somber earthy tones. The result is appropriately Germanic -- thoughtful, solid, but rather dull. -- Ronald MangraviteThrough June 12. Florida Stage, 262 S. Ocean Blvd., Manalapan; 561-585-3433, 800-514-3837.
Louie & Ophelia: Set in the late Seventies, M Ensemble's season finale exposes the tumultuous relationship between a middle-age man and a slightly younger mother of two, but lacks enough warmth and care to demonstrate they are indeed in love. Any weakness rests on the shoulders of the playwright, Gus Edwards, whose script runs the gamut of fight-causing topics (money, being a good role model, friends liking one person more than the other), but omits the loving components that keep this duo together. Loye Hawkins (Louie) and Carey Hart (Ophelia) keep things energetic and interesting, with Hart's trio of powerful breakdowns proving she is a truly talented actress. It's worth seeing if you're sensitive to the trials and tribulations of the heart and can handle the words I love you being taken for granted. -- Dan HudakThrough June 12. M Ensemble Actors Studio, 12320 W. Dixie Hwy., North Miami; 305-895-0335.