Stage Capsules

The Boy from Russia: What begins as an icky feelings-fest ends as a smart meditation on suburban values, parental instinct, and the way privilege or deprivation can twist a person's sensibilities. The new, semiautobiographical play by South Floridian Susan J. Westfall follows yuppies Beth Marshall and Jack Goldman (Sandy Ives and Avi Hoffman) as they journey to a small city in Russia to adopt a child they glimpsed on an adoption agency video. The way the play illuminates the contrast between the couple's life at home and the hardscrabble existences they discover in Russia is stunning; it communicates with the feeling of safety nets being removed. Directed by David Arisco. -- Brandon K. Thorp Through June 3. Actors' Playhouse at the Miracle Theatre, 280 Miracle Mile, Coral Gables; 305-444-9293,

The Actor's Nightmare/Sister Mary Ignatius Explains It All for You: As always, Sol Theatre boozily walks the line between creation and chaos, inspired anarchy and flagrant incompetence. This is an aesthetic that has been pursued to grand effect by the world's better punk bands, gutter novelists, and unpop artists, and Sol Theatre tends to pull off its productions with the same aplomb. Plus or minus a few missteps, its current offering -- a Chris Durang double-header -- is no exception. The Actor's Nightmare follows an accountant named George as he is dragged onstage with some of the greatest British stage actors of the Nineteenth Century to star in plays he has barely heard of. Then there's an intermission, and Sister Ignatius (played by David Tarryn-Grae in what is certainly one of the most terrifying performances of this or any season) shows up with her freakish little catamite, Thomas, to get down with some hard-core catechism. Then some former pupils show up, and everything goes to hell. Robert Hooker directs. -- Brandon K. Thorp Through June 2. Sol Theatre Project, 1140 N. Flagler Dr., Fort Lauderdale; 954-801-9207,

Voice of the Prairie: Voice is a huge, sprawling slice of Americana in which Palm Beach Dramaworks' three actors -- Todd Allen Durkin, Gordon McConnell, and Nanique Gheridian -- are transmogrified into what seems like a cast of thousands. John Olive's twenty-year-old play is the story of the meeting, young love, separation, and eventual reunion of Davey Quinn and "Frankie the Blind Girl." But it's a whole lot more than that: It's also about the way American identity can be shed or summoned at will, and how the stories Americans tell themselves can be just as real as the stories they're told by the world. This is a very old and much-lamented take on the national identity, and though it probably makes for bad politics, it also makes for good lives and great drama. William Hayes directs. -- Brandon K. Thorp Through June 10. Palm Beach Dramaworks, 322 Banyan Blvd., West Palm Beach; 561-514-4042,

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Brandon K. Thorp