The Homecoming Even in a week clogged with premieres from the biggest theaters in town, Metropolitan Ensemble Theatre's production of Harold Pinter's prickly 1964 drama seems likely to be a don't-miss event. Though it bounces from location to location, the company gets better and more ambitious each season. In The Homecoming, Pinter crafts bracing drama from the strained family ties among a philosopher, a pimp, a boxer, a demolition man and a chauffeur; in its METspace, Metropolitan Ensemble Theatre stages serious art in an abandoned storefront that once hosted a Christian haunted house. Bob Paisley directs, which is promising. Through Sept. 28 at Metropolitan Ensemble Theatre's METspace, 3604 Main, 816-569-3226.
Rules for Widows After a season of proud trashiness, those nervy culture warriors at Minds Eye Theatre close out their 2008 run with an examination of family values instead of off-off-off-Broadway broadsides against them. This premiere production of Rules for Widows, a drama by Kansas City writer Michael Ruth, examines the hard questions one family must confront following the death of its patriarch, most notably if it's better to float by in comfortable denial or face down a truth that hurts. This is Ruth's first produced full-length play, and director Sara Crow so sure-handedly nailed the whole misery-meets-denial thing in the excellent Sad Hotel a couple of years back that it's hard not to be optimistic. Through Sept. 20 at Just Off Broadway Theatre, 3051 Central, 816-721-2762.