"I already know what it's like. To be dead. It's nothing fancy." Those unvarnished words, and many more, belong to an enigmatic 12-year-old girl named Morse. The year is 1665, and her search for shelter from the Visitation—also called the London plague—has led her and a destitute sailor named Bunce to desperate maneuvers, breaking into the quarantined house of the master of the Royal Dockyard. Though the pair was sure that plague had emptied the house, the rich old couple that lives there immediately corrects their misperception. Making matters worse, Morse and Bunce were spotted by authorities on the way in, meaning their arrival has just extended the house's quarantine for another 28 days. None of them may leave. In short, this unlikely quartet is going to have to get to know one another.
Jeri Lynn Schulke, ArtsCenter Stage's artistic director, helms MacArthur fellow Naomi Wallace's gritty and suspenseful drama with a cast that includes Ros Schwartz, Lance Waycaster and Eric Swenson. Because some of the subject matter is sexually graphic, the production is recommended for ages 17 and up. Shows are Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 3 p.m. through Oct. 23. —Byron Woods