Up Wake: The stage is set: three blank walls, one actor, and no script. For this performance be prepared to go on a sensory journey. Natasha Tsakos's show synchronizes the disciplines of animation, music, and acting, exploring a completely original style of theater that integrates technology and performance. As the lights dim, the blank stage comes alive with 3-D animation and its sole character, Zero, played by Tsakos. As Zero struggles to maintain his corporate suit-and-tie lifestyle, he is constantly pulled into his subconscious, where lines between dream and reality are blurred. "In a fast society, a mind cannot think," says Tsakos. Because the show has no script, it relies on a musical montage to tell the story with snippets from modern composer Dimitri Shostakovich, beats of Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean," and Daft Punk's "Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger." Presented by Miami Light Project and Carnival Center for the Performing Arts, the show dabbles in reality and pulls on the strings of the audience's subconscious. Angela Boucher November 30 through December 2. Showtime is 8:00 p.m. Tickets cost $30. Studio Theater at the Carnival Center for the Performing Arts, 1300 Biscayne Blvd., Miami; 305-949-6722, www.carnivalcenter.org, www.miamilightproject.com.
A New Brain: Shortly after winning a 1992 Tony Award or so the story goes composer William Finn found out he had a brain tumor. Despite his having just received the top award in his field for the Broadway musical Falsettos, the bad news inspired Finn to write a new semiautobiographical musical this time about a composer who fears dying without leaving anything of value behind. Don't take A New Brain as criticism about the Tonys or Falsettos; Finn, along with partner James Lapine, merely set out to write a heartfelt comedy about his nonterminal situation. Margaret Griffis Through December 3. Tickets range from $16 to $18. Mature audiences only. University of Miami's Jerry Herman Ring Theatre, 1312 Miller Dr., Coral Gables; 305-284-3355, www.miami.edu/ring.
Just a Kiss: In Catherine Bush's new play, making its world premiere, two beautiful but struggling actresses are excited to land costarring roles in an off-Broadway play. The enthusiasm of Zee Scott (Caroline Edelen), a guarded, eccentric loner; and Annie Howard (Elise Girardin), one half of a conservative cohabitating couple, is tempered by their distaste for one another and their anxiety over a hot and heavy kissing scene. After many rehearsals, the women overcome their apprehension about the explosive scene and nail the kiss. The only problem is that they do it perhaps a little too well. Opening night is met with rave reviews, but as the stars' romance trickles off the stage and morphs into a close friendship, their significant others are less than enthusiastic. The play tracks the emotional roller coaster that can accompany an actor's taking on a pivotal, controversial role. It assures us, though, that fellow actors will always understand and support each other ... at least until the curtain closes. Camille Lamb Through December 10. Tickets cost $15-$45. New Theatre, 4120 Laguna St., Coral Gables; 305-443-5909, www.new-theatre.org.
City Beneath the Sea: The story of a young girl who saves an underwater metropolis from the powers of evil, played out through sparkling marionette sea creatures, is Pablo Cano's ninth marionette production at the Museum of Contemporary Art. This musical production consists of hand-crafted puppets made from cookie cutters, plastic light bulbs, rubber doilies, and cigarette wrappers. City Beneath the Sea is more than meets the eye. In Cano's work, Marcel Duchamp's ready-mades meet Robert Rauschenberg's mixtures of painting and sculpture. Even the sad eyes of Victor Manuel's portraits make an interlude and mingle with the filmmaker Georges Mélis, whose films inspired Cano's set, and of course Cuba is never too far from the Havana-born artist's creations. "My working process is a little different than some artists," Cano says. "I usually go to different Cuban restaurants that have paper place mats and draw characters while waiting for dinner with my family." Vanessa Garcia Through December 23. Tickets cost $3-$16; seating is limited. MoCA, 770 NE 125th St., North Miami; 305-893-6211; www.mocanomi.org.