A one-man show performed by Sean Patrick Judge, managing director for Nova Arts, Thom Pain follows one very pessimistic man as he struggles with everyday life. Filled with what Amy Hooper, NA founder, calls dry, definitely not laugh-out-loud humor, Thom is an odd mix of cynicism and hope. "You're rooting for him even through he's a mean kind of a bastard," she told Hair Balls.
Oh, and in case you're wondering about the show's "(based on nothing)" subtitle, that's playwright's Will Eno's effort to make sure the audience understands the material is not based on his personal experiences.
This has been Thom Pain's Houston premiere. 8 p.m. Friday, 2 p.m. Saturday. DiverseWorks, 1117 East Freeway. For information, call 800-595-4849 or visit www.novaartsproject.com. $10 to $15 (the July 4 matinee is a pay-what-you-can performance).
Another show worth seeing this weekend is Natural Disasters, actually two one-act plays that have been paired together.
As the title implies, the characters face challenges in the course of the action. In Tropical Depression, two rich Texas housewives are on vacation, amusing themselves buying up trinkets and schmoozing with handsome lifeguards. Then a hurricane sweeps in and they're forced to stay in their hotel with nothing to do but examine their empty, meaningless lives.
In the accompanying Twister, Betty and Roy manage to survive a tornado that flattened their town, but might not manage to survive the weight of their emotional baggage. Besides the hurricane and tornado that swirls through the storyline, D. L. Groover notes, these "characters are more than capable of doing serious damage all by themselves." 8:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 3 p.m. Sunday, June 21 and 28. Through July 4. 4106 Way Out West Drive. For information, call 713-682-3525 or visit www.theatresuburbia.com. $10 to $12.