Aaron Landsman's site-specific play, What You've Done, is the sometimes mysterious, sometimes hilarious, always intimate tale of Rain, a young woman who vanishes and leaves only confusion for her sister Kat and roommate Chip. A collaboration between Project Row Houses, DiverseWorks and Infernal Bridegroom Productions, the show is set in an actual Project Row House. "The edge that this play rides is somewhere between life-altering events and normal, day-to-day reality," says Landsman. "But the audience is so close to it all, and that's where the drama lies." Indeed, the audience -- which, because of spatial constraints, is limited to ten people -- will never be more than a few feet from the players. And before the show, spectators are invited to tour the house looking for clues. The play's action is heightened as the reality outside (and inside) becomes the show's reality. "If a loud bus passes by outside, rather than wait for it, the players will talk over it, the way they would in real life," explains Landsman. "I crave that in theater: an acknowledgement that the world is going on outside." Opens at 8 p.m. Thursday, October 20. Show continues Thursdays through Sundays through November 5. 2500 Holman. Reservations strongly encouraged. For tickets and showtimes, call 713-335-3445 or visit www.diverseworks.org. $6 to $15. -- Steven Devadanam
One Big Dysfunctional Family
Shunya Theatre's Final Solutions examines the ties that bind
Communalism -- everybody sharing everything all the time -- sounds good in theory. But in real life, people like having their own stuff (bathrooms, for example). This idea is examined in Final Solutions, the latest tale by local South Asian stage troupe Shunya Theatre. It follows one Indian family's struggle to overcome their religious prejudices, the realities of communalism, and the healing and freedom they find in tolerance for others after a nightlong exchange of judgments and retorts. Written in the early '90s, this play is still a timely reminder of conflicts here and abroad -- not to mention many a mom's credo that when it comes to others' faults, forgetfulness is next to godliness. Final Solutions opens at 8 p.m. Friday, October 21. Show continues on weekends through November 6. DiverseWorks, 1117 East Freeway. For tickets and showtimes, visit www.shunyatheatre.org. $10 to $15. -- Mary Templeton
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She's Your Mann
Few singer-songwriters can capture the melancholy of life like Aimee Mann. Even her "happy" songs still display a bit of sadness, as if she were keenly aware that the blues are always just around the corner. She shook us when she bluntly discussed domestic abuse in her '80s hit single "Voices Carry," thanks to her trademark lilting vocals that sound as though she were merely thinking aloud. She charmed us with her '90s tune "That's Just What You Are." And she made us feel a little desperate about our own place in the universe when she sang "Save Me" on the Magnolia soundtrack. 8 p.m. Sunday, October 23. Verizon Wireless Theater, 520 Texas. For tickets, call 713-629-3700 or visit www.ticketmaster.com. $25. -- Steven Devadanam
The celebrated Merce Cunningham Dance Company presents two dances this weekend: Split Sides, the roll-of-the-dice dance of chance featuring the music of Radiohead and Sigur Rs, and Ground Level Overlay, one of the company's signature works. Following the performance, your ticket admits you to an afterparty at Six Degrees Lounge, with continued no-cover fun at both Opus and M Bar. 8 p.m. Friday, October 21. Wortham Center Cullen Theater, 501 Texas. For tickets, call 713-227-4772 or visit www.spahouston.org. $25 to $45. -- Mary Templeton