If you visit the theater to escape the drudgery of life, a play in which characters struggle to accept their unhappiness probably won’t help. But Round House Theatre’s new production of This, Melissa James Gibson’s incisive and darkly comic play about impending middle age, could bring a little perspective at least. The action revolves around Jane, a recently widowed poet who’s trying to reassemble her life. Her friends encourage her but also grapple with their own disappointment, whether in parenthood, love, or work. Those same friends introduce her to a handsome French doctor in the hopes that a new man will pull her out of her funk, but remember you’re not watching a romantic comedy: The play is more concerned with creating believable premises for the characters than a Hollywood ending. This might not transport you, but it could help you realize that your life might not be so sucky after all. The play runs Oct. 9 to Nov. 3 at Round House Theatre, 4545 East-West Highway, Bethesda. $15–$45. (240) 644-1100. roundhousetheatre.org.