Autumn garden

Fall on Boston boards
By CAROLYN CLAY  |  September 14, 2009

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BALL BUSTING: Tina Packer’s Martha crosses swords with Nigel Gore’s George in the Publick Theatre’s production of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

It's freshman and sophomore year on the Boston rialto, with American Repertory Theater artistic director Diane Paulus introducing her first season (The Donkey Show is already up at Club Oberon) and Huntington Theatre Company honcho Peter DuBois endeavoring to survive his second (which has opened with August Wilson's Fences). Elsewhere on campus, the faces are more familiar, from the grizzled countenance of Topol's Tevye (at the Opera House November 3-15) to the scrubbed visage of Mr. Roberts (at New Repertory Theatre through October 4).

FOURTH ANNUAL PROVINCETOWN TENNESSEE WILLIAMS THEATER FESTIVAL | September 24-27 | Four days of depending on the kindness of Williams that'll include a Streetcar from New Zealand, a fantasia on the death of Jackson Pollock called The Day on Which a Man Dies, the world premiere of a precursor to Sweet Bird of Youth called The Enemy Time, and Beau Jest Moving Theater's world premiere of The Remarkable Rooming House of Madame Le Monde, a sinister comedy about a paralyzed man who gets around his garret by swinging from hooks! That last one is given a sneak preview September 18-19 at Charlestown Working Theater. | Provincetown, various venues | $20-$35; $100-$500 festival pass | 866.789.TENN or www.twptown.org

WHO'S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF? | Publick Theatre | October 1-24. | If anyone can stand up to Edward Albee's braying, booze-soaked, ball-busting sack of sex and pathos, Martha, it's Shakespeare & Company founding artistic director Tina Packer. So can Nigel Gore, as George, stand up to Packer in this revival of the 1962 New York Critics' Circle Award winner too potty-mouthed to win a Pulitzer? Diego Arciniegas directs. | BCA Plaza, 539 Tremont St, Boston | $33-$37.50 | 617.933.8600 or www.bostontheatrescene.com

SLEEP NO MORE | American Repertory Theater | October 8–January 3 | Sandwiched between Diane Paulus's "Midsummer Night's Disco," The Donkey Show, and her gospel-infused riff on The Winter's Tale, Best of Both Worlds, is this mix of Rear Window and the Scottish play that's presented by the London troupe Punchdrunk in its US debut. Set off-site at the Old Lincoln School in Brookline Village, the show allows its audience to wander through an evocative installation of cinematic scenes redolent of the works of Alfred Hitchcock but triggered by Shakespeare's Macbeth. | 19 Kennard Road, Brookline | $25-$75 | 617.547-8300 or www.americanrepertorytheater.org

THE TAMING OF THE SHREW | Actors' Shakespeare Project | October 14–November 8 | ASP does not promise to gild its Bard with Donna Summer. But an earthy poetry does hold its own against the WWE-worthy fisticuffs of the Bard's early comedy, a battle of the sexes whose sexism is better gotten around by a woman director, in this case Obie winner Melia Bensussen, who supervises the bantering and battering of Benjamin Evett's Petruchio and Sarah Newhouse's Kate. | Downstairs at the Garage, 38 JFK St, Cambridge | $47; $38 seniors; $25 students | 866.811.4111 or www.actorsshakespeareproject.org

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