Wallace Shawn may be familiar to moviegoers as an actor, but the audience for his work as a playwright has thus far been relatively small, often deliberately so. The 2000 New York City production of The Designated Mourner was performed in an empty office space rather than a theater, and the seating each night was capped at just over 20 attendees. That may be just as well, because the message that Shawn sends in this play is about as far from the comforting reassurance of big commercial theater as you can get. In this three-person production, a man, his wife, and her father, all of them liberal intellectual artist-types, struggle to survive in an unnamed country that’s being torn apart by an insurrection of the poor and unemployed and the vicious totalitarian dictatorship that seeks to suppress it. What makes this nasty social scenario even more threatening is the fact that the play’s timeframe is the near future, and its setting might as well be these United States. Presented by Genesis West, Friday, November 8 - Saturday, December 7. Call 969-5637 or visit genesiswest.org.
Clybourne Park, presented by PCPA. At the Severson Theatre through September 29.
Noises Off. At Circle Bar B Dinner Theatre, Friday, September 20 - Sunday, October 27.
Macbeth, presented by UCSB Naked Shakes. At UCSB’s Hatlen Theater, Saturday-Sunday, October 5-6.
Defying Gravity, presented by DramaDogs. At Center Stage Theater, Friday-Sunday, October 4-6.
Bus Stop. At SBCC’s Garvin Theatre, Wednesday, October 16 - Saturday, November 2.
The Sunset Limited. At Rubicon Theatre, Wednesday, October 23 - Sunday, November 17.
Happy Few, presented by Ratatat Theater Group. At various locations, Friday, November 1 - Sunday, November 17.
The Table, presented by Blind Summit Theatre. At UCSB’s Campbell Hall, Wednesday-Friday, November 6-8.
Carrie, presented by Out of the Box Theatre Company. At Center Stage Theater, Thursday, November 7 - Sunday, November 17.
Top Girls. At UCSB’s Performing Arts Theater, Friday, November 8 - Saturday, November 16.
Million Dollar Quartet, presented by Theater League. At the Granada Theatre, Tuesday-Wednesday, November 12-13.
Wesley Stace’s Cabinet of Wonders, presented by UCSB Arts & Lectures. At UCSB’s Campbell Hall, Wednesday, November 13.
The Onion Live!, presented by UCSB Arts & Lectures. At UCSB’s Campbell Hall, Tuesday, November 19.
The Addams Family, presented by Theater League. At the Granada Theatre, Monday-Tuesday, December 10-11.