1) Among the current wave of hot new playwrights, the A-list includes Lucas Hnath, whose subject matter ranges widely. His Isaac’s Eye is a riff on Isaac Newton and science, while Red Speedo revolves around a competitive swimmer caught doping. The Christians, performed in Pittsburgh two years ago by Kinetic Theatre, is about a church pastor trying to persuade his old-school congregation that Hell does not exist. Now Pittsburgh Public Theater stages Hnath’s A Doll’s House, Part 2, a seriocomic sequel to Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House, which shocked the world in the late 1800s by depicting a liberated woman who leaves her husband and children. Part 2 is set 15 years later. The woman, Nora, returns to confront her estranged husband over their divorce, which still isn’t legally settled, and winds up confronting many other issues as well. Hnath’s plays are praised because his characters are not simple, and neither are the predicaments they face in trying to determine what’s right.
A Doll’s House, Part 2 is directed for The Public by Ted Pappas, the company’s former longtime artistic director. Cast members are Lisa Velten Smith, Daniel Krell, Helena Ruoti, and Marielle Young. 8 p.m. Performances continue through April 7. At the O’Reilly Theater, 621 Penn Ave., Cultural District. (MV)
2) Some call it a dive. Others, home. Many come for a board game, or trivia night but return for the camaraderie, dartboard, and daily drink specials. Nestled between Atwood Street and York Way, Gene’s Place may be the best South Oakland bar that you’ve never heard of. Owner Gene Ney teaches business courses part-time at Carlow University, which makes him an educator both in front of and behind the bar. The three flat screens are tuned to either professional Pittsburgh teams or to Pitt athletics. Weekly draws include: Tuesday’s Board Game Night. with 22 oz. Long Island Ice Teas for $5. Another popular night is Trivia on Tap, 9 p.m. every Wednesday. Harrison Kinzler and Mike (“Marty”) Stanis make for some tough quizmasters, but to the victors go free booze. Wednesday specials include $2.50 22-ounce Miller Light drafts and $5.50 Miller Light pitchers. Winners or losers, everyone leaves with a smile on their face and knowledge gained. Also try the Old German beer on tap. It is on special daily with a 22 oz. draft for $2.50 and pitchers $5.50. 3616 Louisa St., Oakland. (CM)