Play by play: October 16, 2009

This week's theater listings
By JEFFREY GANTZ  |  October 14, 2009

DEAD MAN’S CELL PHONE | The Lyric Stage Company of Boston has Carmel O’Reilly to helm the Boston premiere of this 2008 Off Broadway hit by thirtysomething Pulitzer finalist Sarah Ruhl, contriver of the surreal fantasies The Clean House and Eurydice. Ruhl’s latest smash-up of life and death, profundity and whimsy, centers on a young woman drawn into the life of a stranger whose cell phone she answers — just after he’s bought the farm. | 140 Clarendon St, Boston | 617.585.5678 | October 16–November 15 | Curtain 2 pm [October 21, November 11] + 7:30 pm Wed | 7:30 pm Thurs | 8 pm Fri | 3 + 8 pm Sat | 3 pm Sun | $25-$54

THE EUROPEANS | Whistler in the Dark joins “21 for 21,” an international celebration of the work of British playwright Howard Barker, with a staged reading of this 1990 work. It’s set in 1684 Vienna, where the Turkish siege has been lifted and General Starhemberg is a hero. He’s offered honors, but he wants love, and the object of his affections is Katrin, a woman who was raped by the Turks and had her breasts cut off. Can the body — and the body public — survive? | Piano Factory Theatre, 791 Tremont St, Boston || October 21 | Curtain 7:30 pm | Free; advance reservation recommended

INCORRUPTIBLE | Emerson Stage offers American violist and playwright Michael Hollinger’s dark look at the Dark Ages — this 1996 work is set in a monastery in “Priseaux, France,” where saints’ body parts are the currency du jour. Benny Sato Ambush directs. | Semel Theater, 10 Boylston Place, Boston || October 22-25 | Curtain 8 pm Thurs-Fri | 2 + 8 pm Sat | 2 pm Sun | $14

THE SEAFARER | Charles Towers directs this second area production (the first came from SpeakEasy Stage last November) of Conor McPherson’s 2008-Tony-nominated play set in a moribund suburb of Dublin on Christmas Eve. Dickens it’s not — McPherson’s spirits of Christmas Past, Present, and probably Future come in a bottle. But McPherson’s claim that this grimly humorous work is his most optimistic play yet is not without credence. Sharky is a multiple loser who’s returned from his latest misadventure to care for his recently blinded brother Richard, who sets up a late-night poker game that includes a mysterious interloper with some very high stakes in mind. This suave stranger is Satan, and Sharky is playing for his very soul. With David Adkins as Sharky and Gordon Joseph Weiss as Richard. | 50 East Merrimack St, Lowell | 978.654.4MRT | October 15–November 8 | Curtain 2 pm [October 21] + 7:30 pm Wed | 7:30 pm Thurs | 8 pm Fri | 4 pm [no October 17] + 8 pm Sat | 2 + 7 pm [no evening November 8] Sun | $26-$56

SHOOTING STAR | Real-life couple Kurt Rhoads and Nance Williamson, who starred in Trinity Rep productions in the early ’90s, return to Providence for Steven Dietz’s romantic comedy about ex-lovers who run into each 20 years later in a snowbound Midwest airport. Fred Sullivan Jr. directs. | Trinity Repertory Company, 201 Washington St, Providence, Rhode Island | 401.351.4242 | October 16–November 22 | Curtain 7:30 pm Tues-Fri [with a 2 pm matinee October 28] | 2 pm [October 24; November 7, 21] + 7:30 pm Sat | 2 pm [no October 18] + 7:30 pm Sun | $20-$65

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