People often have strange reactions when they’re standing next to someone’s deathbed. In Diana Amsterdam’s Carnival ’Round the Central Figure, making its Houston premiere with Mildred’s Umbrella Theater Company, some of those reactions are funny, some are sad, some are both — and all of them hit home. Jennifer Decker, the company’s artistic director and co-founder, says she came upon Amsterdam’s script by chance. It happened that she read it just after going through a similar situation and recognized much of her own experience on the pages. The father of a friend was dying, and as a newcomer and relative outsider, Decker clearly saw the family’s denial in the face of obvious indicators that the man was near death. Some hoped for unlikely “good results” from a new medication, others worked on keeping a positive attitude and still others discussed after-hospice care. The man’s family and friends did everything but deal with the realities of the situation at hand. Carnival ’Round’s main character is Kate, a young woman who visits a friend who’s dying and is swept up in the emotional situation.
8 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Mondays. Through November 23. Studio 101, Spring Street Studios, 1824 Spring. For information, call 832-463-0409 or visit mildredsumbrella.com. Pay-as-you-can to $40.
Mondays, Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m. Starts: Nov. 8. Continues through Nov. 23, 2013