By John Thomason
By Benjy Caplan
By Artburst Miami
By Carlos Suarez De Jesus
By Daniel Reskin
And Then She Moved the Furniture: The Public Theatre presents the first production of Miami playwright Manny Diez's chilling tale of army base domestic abuse, a fictional telling of a true story out of Fort Bragg during the summer of 2002. Four soldiers murdered their wives, and two of them then committed suicide. To top off the violence, an army wife murdered her Special Forces husband. The resulting investigation pointed blame at marital problems and stress from wartime separation, which leaves us wondering: What's up at Fort Bragg? Through the play's juxtaposition of present and past, we learn unsettling facts about life for soldiers coming home, as well as about life for their spouses. Dave AmberThrough March 19. Public Theatre of South Florida, 6501 W. Sunrise Blvd., Plantation; 954-537-3648.
Bold Girls: Rona Munro's 1991 play is set inside a drab Catholic home. A tea kettle is on and a bottle of gin sits on the kitchen table. Gunfire erupts outside. Burning buses and British soldiers are fouling up the streets the kinds of things that might just keep three pent-up women from a girls' night out at the pub. Hmm, where could this drab house possibly be? The Belfast of the early Nineties makes the Fort Bragg of 2002 look like Gymboree. The three central characters are war widows in different ways their husbands have either been killed or arrested and thrown in "the Kesh." The women's resulting mundane lives of mothering are interspersed with bombs exploding or rounds of alternatively sanctifying or excoriating the dead men. This production is a steady stream of lovely ensemble work, and each scene is like a self-contained sphere full of poignant, funny, and dark interaction. Dave AmberThrough March 19. Women's Theatre Project, 640 N. Andrews Ave., Fort Lauderdale; 954-462-2334.
Day of Reckoning: The sad and seamy underbelly of the mythical American dream is not a place of hope, though this production makes a scattered attempt at embracing quite a bit of America's historical landscape: Ku Klux Klan rallies, slavery and its aftermath, burning crosses, forbidden love, shameless hate, interracial relations, voting rights, workers' rights, bloody labor struggles. If all of this sounds like too much, it is. Melody Cooper's historical drama treads on a minefield of issues, with lackluster results. Yet Ricky J. Martinez's fearless direction and a cast headed by Tara Vodihn and Keith Cassidy come close to making a case for Cooper's sprawling mess of a play. Octavio RocaThrough March 26. New Theatre, 4120 Laguna St., Coral Gables; 305-443-5909, www.new-theatre.org.