Playwright-director Young Jean Lee likes to investigate identity issues — ethnicity, class, gender — and, more importantly, the loopy psychological and political dynamics that arise when we try to deal with them. The results can be provocative, at least by the mild-mannered standards of most American theater: In 2009, The Shipment called into question the race of the characters we were watching at a gathering onstage. In 2012, Untitled Feminist Show pitted six naked performers against preconceptions about women’s bodies and types. Straight White Men, Lee’s newest show, opens at the Public Theater this week with a cast of downtown vets (including Pete Simpson, James Stanley, and Gary Wilmes). Framed as a take on the classic American family drama, the play probes values such as happiness and privilege — and the one sure bet is that Lee will make fun and freewheeling turns into the unexpected.
Nov. 7-Dec. 7, 8 p.m., 2014