The Alliance Theatre Lab could provide the dictionary definition of scrappy.
The tiny company operates on a shoestring budget in a rented space in a Miami Lakes shopping center, taking on challenging contemporary dramas. Until a year and a half ago, the quality of its productions varied wildly, but its core of actors and creative staff persevered. Under the direction of Alberto Acevedo, the theater has slowly earned strong word of mouth reports over the past year.
So, the curiosity factor is high as Alliance opens The House of Yes on Thursday. The surreal dark comedy by Wendy MacLeod is described as what happens when obsession and lust take over the profoundly dysfunctional Pascal family Thanksgiving dinner just as one son brings his fianc’e home to meet the relatives.
Founded as The Modern Stage in 2001, the company delivered only one show a year for three years, then reorganized in 2005 as the Alliance. Even then, it only could scrape up the money to do one or two shows a year.
But in 2009 and this year, it performed Sexual Perversity in Chicago, Strange Snow, Orphans and Coyote on a Fence to encouraging reviews.
The House of Yes will be performed through Nov. 21 at 6766 Main Street inside the Main Street Playhouse. For more information, call 305-259-0418 or visit thealliancetheatrelab.com.
Equally intriguing, if far more mainstream, is the Maltz Jupiter Theatre’s production of 12 Angry Men, the classic television play turned theater play turned film.
The ensemble cast (including local actor Barry Tarallo) is led by Frank Galati, the renowned Chicago director who won two Tony Awards for adapting and directing Steppenwolf Theater Company’s acclaimed The Grapes of Wrath on Broadway.
Although the drama is an often-revived staple of high schools and community theater, a recent Broadway and touring production reminded audiences that it remains a potent, gripping 90-minute ride when its well-executed.
The story of one man of integrity trying to sway a hostile jury on a murder case runs through Nov 14. For more information, call 561-575-2223 or visit jupitertheatre.org.
And for something completely different, Rising Action Theatre Company in Fort Lauderdale is presenting Mart Crowley’s acerbic drama about gay men in the 1960s, The Boys in the Band.
The 1968 play was ground-breaking in its unsparing depiction of a wide array of gay characters interacting ‘ almost as if the straight audience was eavesdropping. But as gay pride grew post-Stonewall, the script was condemned for perpetuating stereotypes and for portraying several characters who hated themselves and by inference, their sexuality. In recent years, its reputation has been rehabilitated in recognition of its courage and honesty.
The play runs through Dec. 12, for more information call 954-561-2225 or visit risingactiontheatre.com.