THE KNEE DESIRES THE DIRT
Richard Hugo House, 1634 11th Ave., 206-325-6500. $10-$25. 8 p.m. Thurs.-Sat.; 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Sun. Ends Sun., Nov. 10.
Mirror Stage company debuts with Julie H颥rt's mellifluous dissection of three generations in a family of Southern women and the embattled bravery it takes to pursue "the singular vision of your own happiness." The production is undernourished directorially—the blocking is unsure, and there's little flavor from the Cajun Louisiana milieu that the text demands—but its heart is in clear view. The set by Rex Carleton is the well-considered outline of a memory, while Peggy Gannon gives grit and real presence to the somnambulant Christine, whose tart-tongued mother is dying and whose teenaged daughter is ready to live. And the play itself is a winner—a familiar tale told with an uncommonly eloquent confidence and consideration. STEVE WIECKING
SecondStory Repertory in Redmond Town Center, 425-881-6777. $14-$18. 8:15 p.m. Fri.-Sat. Ends Sat., Nov. 23.
It's theater at the mall! SecondStory Repertory—located in Redmond Town Center across from the Thomas Kinkade Gallery—is the kind of place that offers fine productions at reasonable prices, so long as you don't mind that the box office is within spitting distance of Zumiez. This production of Scapino (adapted from Moli貥 by Frank Dunlop and Jim Dale) is nearly as good as Intiman's recent Scapin. It's an admirable show, but, as in Intiman's take, it indulges in too many running gags that aren't funny to begin with, not to mention a few stretches that contain far too much repetitive stage business—a laughing fit continues, without the aid of dialogue, for what seems like 10 minutes. Audience laughter is polite, even weary, when it ought to be explosive. CHRIS JENSEN
NIGHT OF THE DAMNED III
Odd Duck Theatre, 1214 10th Ave., 206-244-9191. $10. 7:30 p.m. Wed.-Sat. Ends Sat., Nov. 2.
Like a church-basement potluck, this showcase of nine compact plays on ghoulish themes is less about artistry than community. You may even find a surprisingly yummy dish among the casseroles, like skits on a Halloween ball for suicidal schizophrenics, the religious fervor of a comic strip character, or an afterlife soap opera. Are you expecting O'Neill? Oh, no—this is an invitation to goof around with the writers and actors of DAMN, a long-running rabble of playful amateur scribblers. Even when they seem to be having more fun than we are, it would be churlish to complain at only a buck per piece. At Halloween, after all, it's OK to only want to boost some high spirits. GIANNI TRUZZI
TWO FOR THE SEESAW
Freehold's East Hall Theatre, 1529 10th Ave., second floor, 206-325-6500. $8-$12. Call for show times. Ends Fri., Nov. 8.
In-G, a new company devoted to "meaningful pieces of theater that have either been forgotten, overlooked, or underexposed," makes its premiere with a dusty old title by William (The Miracle Worker) Gibson. Sometimes obscurity happens for a reason. Seesaw is a precious piece about two New Yorkers (Kevin Brady and Jenna Hawkins) who meet cute, engage in lots of faux-witty banter, and embark on a doomed love affair that isn't particularly convincing in any of its details. Hawkins turns in a fine performance (in the role that launched Anne Bancroft's career), and director Mark Dias smartly embraces the show's unshakable late-'50s vibe. But the justly neglected script—not to mention the leads' flat chemistry—keeps Seesaw at a near-standstill. CHRIS JENSEN