Ceremonies in Dark Old Men: Some things mature with age, others don't. Almost 40 years after Ceremonies premiered off-Broadway, it still offers a powerfully rich portrayal of a disenfranchised African-American family in crisis. But it also projects such a clichéd, outdated, and stereotypical image of black men that it begs the question: What do we gain from its revival? The play is set in a dingy barbershop in Harlem during the Fifties. The cast is led by the gregarious Jerry Maple, Jr. as patriarch Russell Parker. While the jobless, aging father daydreams of his lost youth, his two no-account sons thieve and loaf. Daughter Adele the lone female and the provider toils in a dead-end office job. The men's struggle for survival ultimately leads them to bootlegging and racketeering. Although the entertaining players shift with polished ease between the intense narrative and hilariously comical interludes, the tragedy that befalls the troupe falls oddly flat. Joanne Green Through March 12. M Ensemble, 12320 W. Dixie Hwy., North Miami; 305-895-0335, www.themensemble.com.
Cradle of Man: With intelligent design worming its way through academia, we could really use a good evolution play that looks at the natural history of man. But even with its promising title, Melanie Marnichs Cradle of Man isnt it. Instead, in a Tanzanian hotel, two American couples cross paths in a tiresome evening of Love Boat-style adultery. Is an intriguing science-versus-religion debate in store? Nope. Cradle of Man uses scientific metaphors to talk ponderously about love and infidelity. It is clunky, with lots of misspent and misconceived emotion that makes you lose faith in its navigation long before it ends. Dave Amber Through March 5. Florida Stage, 262 S. Ocean Blvd., Manalapan; 561-585-3433.
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