Even after the mortgage meltdown that helped trigger the Great Recession, home ownership is considered an integral part of the so-called American Dream. But what kind of class divisions, character distinctions, and chance circumstances drive our exclusive system of private property, and what would happen if one couple decided they were no longer going to observe the rules of the game?

For the first staged reading in its new Near Southside venue at 120 S Main St, Amphibian Productions will present Brenda Withers’ darkly satirical script The Ding Dongs, or What Is the Penalty in Portugal? 2pm Sun Dec 2 and 7pm Mon Dec 3. The play depicts a battle of wits, Theater of the Absurd-style, between one hapless homeowner and a determined husband and wife who’ve decided to take up residence in the house that he was raised in and, more importantly, feels he deserves. Playwright Withers will co-star in both readings. Tix are $10-$15.