Bryn Magnus’s eerie character study for the Curious Theatre Branch is too long and isn’t shaped well–it plods along in the beginning. The staging is awkward given the skinny space, and it’s weighed down by occasional mugging. Yet by the end this is a transfixing piece of theater. Seven quirky Humboldt Park characters intersect, including a sadistic cop (Beau O’Reilly), a world-weary bar owner (Clover Morell, whose energy lights up the stage), and two kooky mothers (Jenny Magnus and Teresa Weed). Exploring our dark impulses, particularly the way we’re drawn to abusive power, Magnus’s gorgeous, crystalline script suggests that everyday domesticity disguises our moral stumbles and keeps us sane. In this challenging piece, Magnus doesn’t have answers for why that tactic sometimes fails–ultimately the characters are left staring at one another, knowing only that it sometimes does. Through 2/26: Fri-Sat 8 PM, Sun 3 PM. Prop Thtr, 3502-4 N. Elston, 773-267-6660. $12 or “pay what you can.”