The family in Sam Shepard's Curse of the Starving Class is hungry in the traditional sense — their fridge is maddeningly bare — and in a more spiritual sense. Mom Ella dreams of leaving her drunken lout husband, Weston, selling the house and running away to Europe. Daughter Emma dreams of being a traveling mechanic in Mexico who dabbles in freelance engine theft, and her older brother Wesley is trying mightily to hold the family and the family farm together. As for Weston, he's been done in by "invisible money" — all those freewheeling banks and their easy credit had him banking on an eternally bright future; the fact that bad times might come and demand real cash never occurred to either of them. That's pretty prescient for a play written in 1978. The Washington University Performing Arts Department presents the darkly lyrical Curse of the Starving Class at 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, and at 2 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday (November 18 through 21) at the A.E. Hotchner Studio Theatre (6445 Forsyth Boulevard; 314-534-1111 or edisontheatre.wustl.edu). Tickets are $10 to $15.
Nov. 18-21, 2010