Brainpeople — The orphan at the center of Jose Rivera's play treats her psychic wounds in a bizarre and novel way. And it makes for some exhilarating theater despite some bumps in the road. Rivera is the author of Each Day Dies With Sleep and References to Salvador Dali Make Me Hot, both of which have been produced by Convergence-Continuum in their own uniquely intimate environs and style. Rivera is masterful at easing the audience into the situation — in this case a Los Angeles dinner party attended by three women — then gradually changing the parameters and expectations. This results in an evening that makes you think, without you even knowing it's happening. Tapping into magical realism and a Latin sense of the surreal, Rivera crafts three characters who should be totally engrossing. When this production attains those heights, it fairly sizzles. (Howey) Presented by Convergence-Continuum through November 13 at the Liminis, 24398 Scranton Rd. Tickets are $12-$15; call 216-687-0074 or go to convergence-continuum.org.
From Breast Cancer to Broadway — This world-premiere from Bridgette Wimberly features 11 local cancer survivors who united to pen their own play chronicling their lives and experiences surrounding their breast-cancer diagnosis. Through November 21 at Karamu House, 2355 East 89th St. Call 216-795-7070 or go to karamuhouse.org for more information.
Dead Man's Cell Phone — Due to a wild and fanciful digression, Sarah Ruhl's play winds up spinning its wheels in the late going. But up to that point, this Dobama Theatre production is amusing and engrossing. The unambiguous title tells you much of what you need to know, since within the first couple minutes a man, Gordon, has dropped dead sitting in his chair at a café. But then his cell phone rings, and the only other patron, a mousy woman named Jean, gently asks him if he's "going to get that." Once she detects the droopy-headed gentleman is in fact toast, she answers his phone and begins running interference between Gordon and those trying to reach him. Soon Jean meets those folks in person, and the imaginary Gordon she has created begins to change Jean's real life in extraordinary ways. In the linchpin role of Jean, Tracee Patterson is a marvel. Through November 21 at Dobama Theatre, 2430 Lee Rd., Cleveland Heights. Tickets are $10-$20; call 216-932-3396 or go to dobama.org.