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5 Performances You Must See on Local Stages This Week

Cockfight (Jan 29-Feb 20 at Kalita Humphreys Theater) Tickets. The real title of this play is only one syllable, and perhaps not family-magazine-friendly in the intended context. Anyway, meet John. John is gay. He’s been living with M (for male, and that’s all the identification we get) for years, up until one day he’s not. Their longterm relationship splinters, John meets F (for female, and that’s all the identification we get), it’s love, and suddenly we’re smack in the aching middle of a love triangle.

The Mountaintop (Jan 31-Mar 2 at Jubilee Theatre) Tickets. On April 3, 1968—a stormy, rainy night—Martin Luther King, Jr. gave a speech at the Mason Temple in Memphis. It was called “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop,” and it is chilling. Its impetus was the city’s unfair treatment of its sanitation workers, but King expands the topic to consider the essential question of helping a man in need without concern for anything but what would happen to the man if someone did not stop to help. He also talks about his life and the threats against it, both natural and unnatural. He’s been to the mountaintop, he says, and all he wants is to do God’s will in the dark days ahead. Once the speech was over, Dr. King retired alone to his motel room. That is where Katori Hall’s play,The Mountaintop, begins, an extrapolation of the man’s last night on Earth. Jubilee Theatre gives it its North Texas premiere.

Improv at the Dallas Comedy House (Jan 31-Feb 1 at Dallas Comedy House) Tickets available at the door. If you aren’t familiar with improvised comedy, we don’t know what rock you live under, but it must be a big one. Weekends at the Dallas Comedy House find various amateur comedy troupes weaving complex universes filled with hysterical characters on the spot.

Ghost (Jan 28-Feb 9 at The Music Hall at Fair Park) Tickets. We had a hard time adjusting to the idea of a Ghost without Patrick Swayze, but this musical version of the 1990 movie has its own charms. Kind of. (Don’t expect a singing Whoopi Goldberg, either.) The film-to-stage adaptation does offer plenty of visual tricks and pop songs along with the whole ectoplasmic romance thing.

Oedipus el Rey (Through March 1 at the Wyly Theatre) Tickets. At Dallas Theater Center, director Kevin Moriarty’s immersive, claustrophobic staging within the upstairs Studio Theatre works because it traps its audience on a non-stop ride to a horrific conclusion, one we know is coming yet cannot avoid. Read the full review.

Image: Ghost the Musical Tour © JOAN MARCUS 2013