You can learn a lot at New Theatre this month. For example, actress Barbara Sloan, for so long typecast as a vengeful cougar, makes a fantastic screwball, or John Manzelli and Katherine Amadeo really should get together more. They have a magnificent and unfakeable chemistry in Raised in Captivity, a play that is both absurd and profound. It figures life as a series of breakups and vanishing acts, which are sad and, because they catch the players so unaware, blackly comic. Manzelli and Amadeo are siblings who cannot understand one another no matter how hard they try; Sloan plays their mother, who was recently killed by a flying showerhead, and Manzelli's therapist, who is so filled with self-loathing that she plucks out her eyes as an act of penance. (She seems to feel a lot better afterward.) Clint Hooper ties it all together as Amadeo's husband: a fellow who learns to follow his bliss and tells everyone else to fuck off.
Sat., May 8, 8 p.m., 2010