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On Stage This Week

At Cesear's Forum:

Controversy Time!

Wy"We knew going in that this show could be controversial," says Greg Cesear, founder and artistic director of Cesear's Forum. "It's dense, it's intellectual, but that's okay. We always try to do things that have merit, but that foster thinking too." Cesear is talking about the company's latest production, a pairing of two seldom-seen one-act plays that examine individual consciousness. The first, Arthur Miller's Elegy for a Lady, is a 35-minute meditation on morality and mortality between a troubled man and a woman who may or may not be a fragment of his own persona. The second is Sylvia Plath's Three Women. Composed of recited poetic stanzas, the piece delves into women's sometimes less-than-uplifting perspectives on conception, birth, and identity loss. It's a fabulous poem, most reviewers agree. But is it a play? Cesear thinks so. "Plath wrote it to be performed. Having visual images to go with the poetry makes for a very moving experience. And in light of the current controversies over birth control and abortion, it seems prescient too." Performances are set for 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays through April 28; shows resume May 11 though 26. There's also a 3 p.m. matinee on Sunday, April 29. Tickets are $15. Performances are at Kennedy's Down Under at Playhouse Square. — Elaine T. Cicora

At 1501 Euclid Ave., 216-241-6000, playhousesquare.org.Gruesome Playground Injuries: Ensemble Theatre presents this dark comedy by Pulitzer nominee (and native Clevelander) Rajiv Joseph, Friday April 27 through Sunday May 20. Performances are 8 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, and 2 p.m. on Sundays. Tickets are $10 to $20 at 216-321-2930 or ensemble-theatre.org. On May 12, a benefit performance will include a chance to meet the playwright. Ensemble is at 2843 Washington Blvd. in Cleveland Heights.

In the Next Room or the Vibrator Play: While the premise is based on historic fact, this 2009 drama by Sarah Ruhl is bold, contemporary, and very, very funny. Performances continue through May 13 at Cleveland Play House, 1407 Euclid Ave. Tickets are $49 to $69 at 216-241-6000 or clevelandplayhouse.com.

Iphigenia 2.0: The modern retelling of Euripedes' tragedy is presented in partnership with Oberlin College through April 28 at Cleveland Public Theatre. Tickets are $10 to $25 at 216-631-2727, cptonline.org, or at the box office at 6415 Detroit Ave.

Not the Flying Stupendas: A circus tale for families, this devised work is presented by Cleveland Public Theatre through May 5. Kids' tix are $5; adults pay $10 to $25 at 216-631-2727, at cptonline.org, or at the box office at 6415 Detroit Ave.

Romeo and Juliet: Great Lakes Theater does a fine job with the essential Shakespearean love story, says house critic Christine Howey: "As always, the joy of seeing Shakespeare is discovering how a new production can deliver an old story with style and verve. This Great Lakes Theater production scores on almost all counts." Performances continue through April 28 at the Hanna Theatre, 2067 East 14th St.

Velocity of Autumn: Beck Center serves up a dark comedy by Cleveland playwright Eric Coble. Through April 29 in the Studio Theater. Tickets are $10 through $28 at 216-521-2540 or beckcenter.org. Beck Center is at 17801 Detroit Ave. in Lakewood.

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