Crime and Punishment, presented by Ensemble Theatre Company, at Alhecama Theatre: Fyodor Dostoevsky’s sprawling psychological novel was likely never meant to be played in 90 minutes and with just three actors, but that didn’t stop playwrights Marilyn Campbell and Curt Columbus from boiling the big book down to just that. At Ensemble, where such feats of compression and transformation are nearly routine, the action is sure to flow fast and furious as three top professional actors show what it’s like to live inside a sinister Russian nightmare without hope — or an intermission. Thursday-Sunday, October 4-21. Call 965-5400 or visit ensembletheatre.com.
Endgame, presented by Genesis West, at the McDermott-Crockett & Associates Mortuary: Leave it to Genesis West’s resident magician, director Maurice Lord, to locate this production of Samuel Beckett’s Endgame in a Santa Barbara mortuary. Where better to contemplate Beckett’s uniquely mordant take on such perennial conundrums as “why is there something rather than nothing?” “Ah,” as Hamm, the play’s dictatorial main character has it, “the old questions, the old answers, there’s nothing like them!” Brian Harwell and Tom Hinshaw star. Friday-Saturday, October 12-27. Call 969-5637 or visit genesiswest.org.
August: Osage County at Santa Barbara City College’s Garvin Theatre: This is perhaps the season’s most anticipated production for a variety of reasons. Tracy Letts’s profane epic of family dysfunction won the Pulitzer Prize for drama in 2008 and looks certain to enter the elite ranks of classic American dramas, up there with Long Day’s Journey into Night and Death of a Salesman. It calls for a large cast and has great roles for men and women of all ages and types. And it will be the first nonmusical play to be presented in the newly renovated Garvin, a spectacular room with state-of-the-art technical capabilities. Katie Laris will direct. Friday-Saturday, October 19 - November 3. Call 965-5935 or visit theatregroupsbcc.com.
Private Lives. At the Rubicon Theatre through Sunday, September 30.
Three Sisters. At PCPA’s Marian Theatre through Sunday, September 30.
Food Confessions. At the Lobero Theatre, Friday-Sunday, September 21-23.
John & Jen, presented by Out of the Box Theatre Company. At Center Stage Theater, Thursday-Sunday, October 4-14.
First Person: Seeing America. At UCSB’s Campbell Hall, Wednesday, October 10.
The Tempest, presented by Lit Moon Theatre Company. At Center Stage Theater, Thursday-Sunday, October 18-28.
Laurie Anderson, Dirtday! At UCSB’s Campbell Hall, Tuesday, October 23.
Much Ado About Nothing. At Westmont’s Porter Theatre, Friday-Saturday, October 26 - November 3.
A Conversation with Edith Head. At Center Stage Theater, Friday-Sunday, November 2-4.
Hamlet. At UCSB’s Campbell Hall, Thursday-Friday, November 8-9.
A Midsummer Night’s Dream. At SBCC’s Jurkowitz Theatre, Wednesday-Saturday, November 14-December 1.
Bell, Book & Candle, presented by Ensemble Theatre Company. At Alhecama Theatre, Thursday-Sunday, November 29 - December 16.
Little Miss Scrooge. At Rubicon Theatre, Wednesday-Sunday, December 12-23.