Zoo Story: Written in 1958 and steeped in shades of economic disparity and dehumanization in a materialistic world, Edward Albee's searing one-act play still retains its power to shock nearly a half-century later. The Edge Theatre stages the numbing encounter between a middle-class publishing exec and a disturbed transient at Miami Beach Botanical Garden, and it would be difficult to cook up a better setting, considering the action unfolds between the men on a park bench. Peter, who lives high on the hog with his wife and two kids, camps himself on the same bench every Sunday to relax with a pipe and a book. Jerry, who squats in a rundown boarding house with a menagerie of kooks, has just come from the zoo and is hell-bent on unloading his misery on a sympathetic ear. When he intrudes on the older man's solitude, class warfare erupts on a gut-gripping level in this absurd confrontation between perfect strangers that careens headlong toward a violent end. — Carlos Suarez De Jesus Through November 26. Miami Beach Botanical Garden, 2000 Convention Center Dr., Miami Beach; 786-355-0976, [email protected].

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 placemats 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.

Opus: Portraying a brief moment in the life of a celebrated string quartet, Michael Hollinger's play begins as the musicians prepare a performance for the U.S. president while the memory of their evicted violist, Dorian (Craig Wroe), hangs over them like a ghost. Aided by an economical, profoundly eloquent script, the cast puts more flesh on these characters than should be possible in 90 minutes. They're in love with their material, and it would be difficult not to be; the script is, essentially, the playwright's love letter to chamber music, which he walked away from 22 years ago to work in theater. And as a love letter, it is every bit as beautiful as the form to which it is dedicated. — Brandon K. Thorp Through November 26. Florida Stage, Plaza del Mar Shopping Center, 262 S. Ocean Blvd., Manalapan; 561-585-3433, www.floridastage.org.

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Vanessa Garcia
Carlos Suarez De Jesus
Brandon K. Thorp