“Neighbors” is a provocative, emotionally charged tale that will make your head spin. Fueled by a seemingly hefty dose of both denial and delusion, the two families at the center of the story are painfully chaotic and incredibly uncomfortable to watch.

They’re also funny in all the wrong places, for all the wrong reasons, which makes laughing feel so inappropriate that you might struggle to suppress it. Add people in blackface, minstrel shows, a routine about watermelon and characters with names like Zip Coon, Sambo and Mammy and you can’t help but squirm in your seat.

In lesser hands, this potentially lethal combination of offensive material could easily become a train wreck. But uber-talented director Summer Williams makes it all work in her finest production to date. Williams meticulously sets the scene with a subversive undertone that practically begs you to laugh one minute then slaps you in the face with an entirely different look at the truth.

Christine Power as Jean Patterson and Equiano Mosieri as Zip Coon Crow are riveting. Their honesty and vulnerability is almost breathtaking as the duo takes their characters on a journey that transcends words on a page. Valerie Stephens delivers an impressive turn as Mammy, doling out just enough “aw shucks” to cover the real wisdom and resultant power that enables her to thrive.

Through Feb. 5
BCA Plaza Theatre
539 Tremont St., Boston
MBTA:?Orange to Back Bay
$30-$38, 617-933-8600