The Last Apple, ETA Creative Arts Foundation. It’s ironic that in a nation founded on the principle of self-advancement, parents will encourage their children to seek a better life, then protest when they find it. In Darlette McAlpin’s new play, Joe Appleton has devoted himself to expanding the Apple Cab Company and to educating his son and daughter. When his wife hints that the time has come for him to retire and leave the business to Steve and Cassie, Steve refuses to take it over, Cassie discovers she’s pregnant, Joe’s closest friend gets shot in a holdup, and a driver shortage threatens to ruin the company.

McAlpin’s neat introduction of the characters and conflicts leads us to anticipate a dutiful symposium on family issues. But she resists the impulse to simplify this family’s choices, instead fully exploring their options before bringing them to resolutions all the more satisfying for the complexity of the process. A stellar ensemble led by Willie B. Goodson as the proud patriarch radiates warmth and personality (though the otherwise capable Rolando A. Boyce Sr. has a voice too mature for Steve, robbing him of the vulnerability he needs to win our sympathy).