ONE FOR PAPA Elevator Repair Service return with The Select, their take on The Sun Also Rises.
The winner of the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for drama. An exhaustive chat-up by the inventor of the geodesic dome. Visits from Ireland’s leading theater troupes, not to mention from the folks who brought us Gatz. Aeschylus’s Prometheus taught to sing by System of a Down. A new play from poster boy for political incorrectness Neil LaBute. And two productions that have touched the holy hem of Peter Brook. With such tantalizers in the wings, it’s hard to grieve over the exit of all the Rockettes, Scrooges, and tipsy Welshmen that see out the old year.
RUINED | Huntington Theatre Company | January 7–February 6 | South Africa native Liesl Tommy directs Lynn Nottage’s 2009 Pulitzer winner, a co-production of HTC, La Jolla Playhouse, and Berkeley Rep. Based on the playwright’s 2004 interviews of women fleeing civil war in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the much-decorated drama centers on a Mother Courage–like businesswoman (Tonye Patano of Showtime’s Weeds) who survives by not taking sides. She sells beer and girls — many of them “ruined” by rape before turning to prostitution — to any man who’ll check his gun at the canteen door.
BU Theatre, 264 Huntington Ave, Boston | $25-$89 | 617.266.0800 or huntingtontheatre.org
R. BUCKMINSTER FULLER: THE HISTORY (AND MYSTERY) OF THE UNIVERSE | American Repertory Theater | January 14–February 5 | Thomas Derrah stars as the futurist, environmentalist, and geodesic-dome designer in this one-man play written and directed by D.W. Jacobs and drawn from the life and writings of R. Buckminster Fuller. Warns the San Diego Reader: “Caution, this play . . . contains ideas.”
Loeb Drama Center, 64 Brattle St, Cambridge | $25-$35 | 617.547.8300 or americanrepertorytheater.org
NEIGHBORS | Company One | January 14–February 5 | One of Boston’s feistier small companies is out to shock us with the New England premiere of Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’s 2010 play, which throws a bomb into the “entirely post-racial lifestyle” of a black professor and his white wife in the form of a “rowdy, tacky, shameless, and uncouth” family of black actors in blackface, performing all manner of minstrelsy, that moves in next door. TimeOut called the show “a wild carnival ride: it will make you scream, or ill, or both.”
Boston Center for the Arts Plaza, 539 Tremont St, Boston | $18-$38 | 617.933.8600 or bostontheatrescene.com
IRISH FESTIVAL | ArtsEmerson | February 2-13 | Dublin’s Abbey Theatre has been famous since the days of William Butler Yeats and Seán O’Casey. Galway’s Druid Theatre has only been famous since its discovery of Martin McDonagh. Both troupes are on their way here. The Druid’s up first with artistic director Garry Hynes’s production of McDonagh’s lyrical dark comedy The Cripple of Inishmaan, in which a disabled orphan gets his big chance as an extra in Robert Flaherty’s 1934 film The Man of Aran. The Abbey follows with Howie the Rookie author Mark O’Rowe’s fantastical Terminus, a set of intertwining, rap-tinged monologues in which three people are ripped from the quotidian to enter a world of “singing serial killers, avenging angels, and love-sick demons.”