A central character in Mia McCullough’s new play is a former Sudanese boy warrior, Ater, now a man who’s emigrated to Chicago. Yet the story revolves at least as much around the grieving North Shore widow trying to rebuild her life by volunteering to help Ater adjust to America. Directed with a light hand by Russ Tutterow, Since Africa is a straightforward drama about family and friendship that’s also about race, religion, and the sense of self. Abu Ansari’s earnest Ater, Morgan McCabe’s flinty socialite, Anna Carini as her bitter, bereaved daughter, and Michael Edgar Myers as the dismissive deacon overseeing the refugee program all change and grow as the story unfolds. Their anger, grief, amiability, antagonisms, and growing intimacy combine to produce a satisfying play punctuated by a few dark revelations and light moments. Through 4/17: Thu-Sat 8 PM, Sun 3 PM. Chicago Dramatists, 1105 W. Chicago, 312-633-0630. $20-$25; $50 Sat 3/19 (includes 6:30 PM buffet).