In Close Up Space, father Paul Barrow is a book editor consumed by a need to set things straight grammatically, to eliminate all unnecessary words. That he does this to the expulsion notice sent to him by his daughter's school points to the enormous chasm there is between the two main characters — which only becomes wider when daughter Harper shows up speaking nothing but Russian to him. Playwright Molly Smith Metzler, a finalist for the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize for this play, says the father-daughter estrangement, while not autobiographical, does mirror her relationship with her own father in some ways. ''We didn't speak for almost ten years; there was so much anger and pain there. I knew I wanted to write about estrangement, but it wasn't until we rekindled that I found I could. I do find that when he and I finally did get together and had a dinner, I found we didn't have a language in common together; we kind of had to create a new language to speak about our pain. Sometimes grief doesn't even have a language, so we have to take extreme measures to reach each other.''
Despite its sometimes somber tone, this play, which she calls a comedy, is uplifting and hopeful, Metzler says. And it should appeal, she says, to -general audiences. ''Most of us have people we're estranged from in our life, and we might not know how to close up that space.'' Cast members include Brittny Bush, Rutherford Cravens, Joanna Hubbard, Carolyn Johnson and David Wald.
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7:30 p.m. Thursdays, 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 3 p.m. Sundays. Through June 16. Main Street Theater, 2540 Times Blvd. For information, call 713‑524‑6706 or visit mainstreettheater.com. $20 to $36.
May 18-19; Wed., May 22; Thursdays-Sundays. Starts: May 18. Continues through June 16, 2013