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Women have it all, and much more, at City Lights

You’ve heard the setup of Gina Gionfriddo’s “Rapture, Blister, Burn,” now in a City Lights production, before. Old grad school pals Gwen (Deb Anderson) and Catherine (Kristin Brownstone) have chosen divergent life paths. Gwen got Don (Erik Gandolfi), the man they both lusted after, and a family; Catherine got freedom and fame as a pop academic. As circumstances reunite them all after many years, they get the rare opportunity to switch places and imagine what might have been.

But what’s so refreshing about this feminist comedy, directed by Virginia Drake, is that it’s not simply a catfight, nor does it hew to limited ideas about a woman’s “having it all.” It forges multigenerational female bonds. Its dialogue is razor-sharp and abrasively funny. It lets both the career woman and the family woman be not just mouthpieces for their own life choices, but complicated, three-dimensional characters.

— Lily Janiak

“Rapture, Blister, Burn”: 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, May 18-20. Through June 18. $19-$42. City Lights Theater Company, 529 S. Second St., San Jose. (408) 295-4200.

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