When done right, multigenerational family sagas can make for exceptional literature and theater - and in some cases, both. Main Street Theater presents the English-language premiere of Caridad Svich's The House of the Spirits, based on the best-selling debut novel by Isabel Allende. Mixing the sensual and the supernatural, it tells the story of the rise and fall of the Trueba family from the 1920s to the 1970s. The setting is an unnamed Latin American country as it goes through social and political changes that result in a totalitarian regime taking power. (Interestingly, Allende is the cousin once-removed of Salvador Allende, the leftist president of Chile from 1970 to 1973, who lost power in a U.S.-supported coup.) Fact and fantasy blur, but the beauty of the work is in the family's story. 3 p.m. Through October 11. 2540 Times Boulevard. For information, call 713-524-6706 or visit www.mainstreettheater.com. $10.
Sun., Sept. 6, 3 p.m.; Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 3 p.m. Starts: Sept. 6. Continues through Oct. 11, 2009