Triptych: Edna O'Brien's story tells of three women (a mistress, a wife, and a daughter) who plot against one another for the affection of one man, dissolve when that affection is withheld, and generally make asses out of themselves. Maybe their behavior is excusable, maybe not; since the man himself never appears onstage, it's difficult to judge. What's not excusable is how self-consciously poetic, how needlessly clever Triptych insists on being. O'Brien usually writes novels, not plays, and you can't avoid the conclusion that Triptych would be better on a page than on a stage. But there's reason to celebrate too. On a page, you'd never get the pleasure of watching Lisa Morgan (last seen in Miami in Golda's Balcony, at GableStage), the scorned wife, coming apart at the seams. She's too physical to be believed, threatening to burst out of her clothes, the theater, the whole goddamn town. She's always half in the bag, and she's always armed with a vicious good humor that makes you laugh and tremble all at once. It's an eccentric characterization, but almost archetypal for that. — Brandon K. Thorp Through November 18. Fort Lauderdale Museum of Art, 1 E. Las Olas Blvd., Fort Lauderdale; 954-385-3060, www.insideouttheatre.org.
In the Continuum: Following the parallel lives of Abigail (Kameshia Duncan) and Nia (Lela Elam), an African newswoman and a black Los Angeles teenager, both of whom are pregnant and incubating HIV, In the Continuum gets more depressing as the one-act twitches and mewls its way across the stage. Both women believe that bringing their children to term will make their men want to stick around. Not true, but they don't know that, and right up to the very end, they're filled with an artless hope that everything will turn out all right. It makes you sick at heart to see, because they can't know the future and you do. But it's not presented as fated. As Duncan and Elam each hold down a side of the stage, switching roles constantly — a boyfriend's mother, a shaman, a counselor, a cousin, a doctor — they are making choices, weighing consequences, keeping faith with the audience by refusing to be reduced to sociology and statistics. They'll become statistics one day, most likely, but that will be a lie. — Brandon K. Thorp Through November 18. GableStage, the Biltmore Hotel, 1200 Anastasia Ave., Coral Gables; 305-445-1119, www.gablestage.com.
For Better ...: Dubbed by its presenters as "a romantic comedy for the digital age," Eric Coble's play, directed by Ricky J. Martinez, employs a cast of six to probe the question "Do a bride and groom really need to be in the same country to go on a honeymoon?" Karen and Max are getting married — at least, if their jobs will ever let them be in the same city at the same time. The National New Play Network world premiere will debut simultaneously at Curious Theater in Denver and Southern Rep in New Orleans. — Brandon K. Thorp Through December 9. New Theatre, 4120 Laguna St., Coral Gables; 305-443-5909, www.new-theatre.org.
Miami local theater
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