Onstage: Adding Machine

If you've been feeling like a big zero lately, you probably need to put Know Theatre's new production on your calendar. Not that you want to follow the example of Mr. Zero, who is replaced by an adding machine after years of loyal service, leading him to

Smart calculation: In the wintry depths of the Great Recession, Know Theatre brings a bleak chamber opera based on an anti-capitalist play from the 1920s, in which an outsourced drone gets revenge on the boss. Now director Michael Burnham and a committed Know company make it clear that with national unemployment stuck near 10 percent, among other troubling indicators both economic and social, Adding Machine’s time has come.

Robert Pavlovich plays Mr. Zero, a man locked in an unhappy marriage and a mind-numbing job adding up the day’s receipts in a department store. After 25 years of service, Zero loses his position to a mechanical device — one with lower “costs of upkeep” than a human being, he’s told. The exit interview ends in murder, we learn later; Zero’s own surprising end points to the true hopelessness of his situation. And possibly ours as well.

It’s worth noting that Know offers the most affordable tickets of any theater in town: $12 for all seats. Get show details, showtimes, tickets and read Julie York Coppens' review here.