It's 1973 and a young couple on a date goes out to dinner, where an older man and woman talk them into following them home to meet the family. Well, the family is missing a few members, actually. Conrad died in WWII and sister Veronica passed away of tuberculosis. Trouble is, the remaining sibling, Cissie, is suffering from dementia and thinks Veronica is still alive. In Veronica's Room, the caregivers, Maureen and John Mackey, want the young woman, Susan, who resembles Veronica, to dress up like her and tell her sister that she doesn't blame her for her death. What ensues is a psychological thriller, the little-performed third part of the Ira Levin trilogy that started with The Stepford Wives and Rosemary's Baby and which Stages Repertory Theatre has selected as its season opener.
Director Josh Morrison (who directed last season's Wittenberg) acknowledges that this is a different type of play for Stages, one that he expects will ''get some screams and gasps'' from the audience. ''There's twists and turns and a definite theatricality to the piece,'' he says. Another major theme of this play concerns the role of females in American society at the height of the women's liberation movement — a recurring theme for Levin, who died in 2007, Morrison says.
Artist Robert Dampier displays his ''steam punk horror art'' out in the lobby in conjunction with the performances. Stages favorites Sally Edmundson and James Belcher star along with Teresa Zimmermann and Dwight Clark.
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7:30 p.m. Wednesday and Thursdays, 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 3 p.m. Sundays. Through November 3. 3201 Allen Parkway. For information, call 713-527-0123 or visit stagestheatre.com. $19 to $54.
Wednesdays, Thursdays, 7:30 p.m.; Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 3 p.m. Starts: Oct. 9. Continues through Nov. 3, 2013