A Picasso: Picture this: Bearlike Pablo Picasso sits in a dark stone cellar amid stacks of paintings, staring intently at his beautiful female model, who happens to be a Nazi official. As the woman begins to disrobe, Picasso sketches furiously, and despite the dank, dark surroundings, you can feel the temperature start to rise. That's the most memorable moment in A Picasso, but unfortunately, it's the final one. John Tillinger's staging is superior, as are veteran performers Peter Michael Goetz and Lucie Arnaz, but Jeffrey Hatcher's two-character drama is written as an intermissionless one-acter that feels like the first part of something more: Just when Goetz and Arnaz get going, the whole thing's over. (Through May 9 at the Coconut Grove Playhouse, 3500 Main Hwy., Coconut Grove, 305-442-4000.)
White People: The deep-buried racial prejudice in white America is the subject of J.T. Rogers' series of poetic monologues, a powerful, disturbing theatrical event. Tracking three characters -- a bitter blue-collar woman, a bewildered New York professor, and a hard-driving attorney -- Rogers hammers home his thematic points relentlessly in this intermissionless show. Rafael de Acha's production features a solid acting ensemble, with Bruce Miller a standout as the attorney who's horrified when his estranged teen son commits a ghastly racial hate crime. (Through May 16 at the New Theatre, 4120 Laguna St., Coral Gables, 305-443-5909.)
Trembling Hands -- How far will one friend go for another? In Ivonne Azurdia's grotesque, funny crime drama, now in its world premiere by the Mad Cat Theatre Company, the answer is very, very far indeed. Following up on her splendid Tin Box Boomerang, a hit for Mad Cat last season, Azurdia again spins a tale of loyalty, menace, and money woes, this time among three Miami med school students whose quest to come up with quick cash leads them into a ghastly scheme that goes haywire. Filled with film noir references and pungent humor, Hands is another high-energy entertainment effort from the Mad Cat crew. (Through May 1 at the Mad Cat Theatre, 3000 Biscayne Blvd., #100, Miami, 305-576-4350.)
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