AFTER THE QUAKE | Company One presents Tony-winning adapter (for The Grapes of Wrath, in 1990) and director Frank Galati's play, which is adapted from two stories — "Honey Pie" and "Superfrog Saves Tokyo" — from Haruki Murakami's After the Quake, a collection set in Japan in 1995 between the Kobe earthquake and the poison-gas attacks in the Tokyo subway. In Galati's fusion, Junpei, the struggling novelist still yearning for the woman who married his more confident college chum and wrapping that love into the comfort he offers her quake-freaked child, becomes the author of the fantastical tale of the debt collector galvanized by the ninja amphibian to heroic action, if only in his dreams. Thus the actor who plays Frog narrates the tale of the writer as the writer narrates his. And as the ribbiting Rambo, Michael Tow, squatting and darting in green-streaked leather jacket and verdant rubber gloves, is a combination superhero and authorial stand-in, as likely to quote Nietzsche or Conrad as to gild a lily pad. Shawn LaCount directs a production that only occasionally crosses the line between punchy surrealism and cartoon | Boston Center for the Arts Plaza Theatre, 539 Tremont St, Boston | 617.933.8600 | Through August 15 | Curtain 7:30 pm Wed-Thurs | 8 pm Fri-Sat | 2 pm Sun | $30-$38; $30 seniors; $15 students; $18 Wed; pay-what-you-can [minimum $6] Sun

CANDIDE | Leonard Bernstein's 1956 "comic operetta" based on the Voltaire novella comes to the Berkshires, complete with the famous Overture, the "Glitter and Be Gay" coloratura aria for Cunégonde, and, of course, "Make Our Garden Grow." The original libretto was by Lillian Hellman, but it's since been replaced by a book by Hugh Wheeler; Richard Wilbur, Dorothy Parker, Stephen Sondheim, and Bernstein himself contributed to the text. | Berkshire Theatre Festival Unicorn Theatre, Main St, Stockbridge | 413.298.5576 | Through August 15 | Curtain 8 pm Mon-Tues | 7 pm Wed | 2 pm Thurs | 8 pm Fri | 2 + 8 pm Sat | $19.28-$68

CAROLINE IN JERSEY | Melinda Lopez's new play finds our heroine "down and out in New Jersey" — her acting career is tanking, and "a peculiar stranger has made his presence known in her new apartment." Can Caroline get it together? Will LeBow, Matt McGrath, Lea Thompson, and Brenda Wehle star in this world premiere; Williamstown Theatre Festival artistic associate Amanda Charlton directs. | Williamstown Theatre Festival Nikos Stage, 1000 Main St, Rte 2, Williamstown | 413.597.3400 | Through August 16 | Curtain 3 + 8 pm Thurs | 8 pm Fri | 4 + 8:30 pm Sat | 2 pm Sun | $35-$37

THE COMEDY OF ERRORS | It's Shakespeare, it's on the Common, it's from Commonwealth Shakespeare, one of the nation's top purveyors of free Shakespeare, and it's, yes, free — what more do you need to know? Okay, this is one of the Bard's earliest and slapstickiest comedies, and it doesn't get done all that often. Arriving at Ephesus from their home in Syracuse, Antipholus and his servant Dromio discover their separated-at-birth twins, who of course have the same names, so you can imagine the mistaken-identity situations that ensue. Steve Maler directs; the cast includes Remo Airaldi as Dromio of Ephesus, Larry Coen as Dromio of Syracuse, Joseph Stamell as Antipholus of Ephesus, Dan Roach as Antipholus of Syracuse, Fred Sullivan Jr. as Ægeon, Jennifer Ellis as Adriana, and Zofia Gozynska as Luciana. Oh, and "one very important part has not yet been fully cast. . . . Interested greyhounds should call 617.426.0863." | Boston Common, Parkman Bandstand |www.commshakes.org| Through August 16 | Curtain 8 pm Tues-Sat | 7 pm Sun | Free

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Related: Play by play: August 14, 2009, Play by play: July 31, 2009, More Bard, another park, More more >
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