Opening Saturday: Inspired by her mother's death from cancer, playwright and director Jennifer Blackmer wrote "Unraveled." The new play revolves around Joy, a professor who mostly lives in her head, and her cancer-stricken mother, George, who has chemotherapy-induced dementia. Joy struggles to come to terms with what is happening with her mother. Mary Cutler directs a cast that includes Rebecca Yoho as Joy, Kristen Mathisen and Carin Leonard-Gorrill as two versions of George, and Jamila Anderson as a pivotal caregiver. (7:30 pm. Sat., 2 p.m. Sun., 7:30 p.m. next Fri. Ends Nov. 10. The Woman's Club of Minneapolis, 410 Oak Grove St., Mpls., $15-$25, 612-721-1186 or www.theatreunbound.com.)
GOOD WOMAN OF SETZUAN
Opening Saturday: There have been many interpretations (and variant spellings) of Bertolt Brecht's moral masterpiece, "The Good Woman of Setzuan." The fable, whose English translation premiered at Hamline University in 1948, according to "The Cambridge Companion to Brecht," orbits big themes. The gods descend, searching for virtuous people. They find that a prostitute, Shen Te, may be the last repository of good. But then they test her. Carin Bratlie directs a Theatre Pro Rata production that stars Kelsey Cramer as Shen Te and Ben Layne as a water seller. (7:30 p.m. Sat.-Mon., 7:30 p.m. next Fri., ends Nov. 10, Intermedia Arts, 2822 Lyndale Av. S., Mpls., $14-$41, pick your price, 612-234-7135 or www.theatreprorata.org.)
Friday-Saturday: Ballet Minnesota takes on two big projects to launch its 26th season this weekend. The free program includes a performance of the iconic 1913 ballet "Rite of Spring" set to Stravinsky's famous score. The evening also features the world premiere of "Morning in Beijing," with music by Ying Zhang performed live by a traditional Chinese orchestra. Creating music for dance is a first for Zhang, a recipient of China's highest national arts award. These performances are part of Ballet Minnesota director Andrew Rist's continued efforts to expand the experiences of his dancers and audiences alike. (7:30 p.m. Fri.-Sat., 2 p.m. Sat., free, The O'Shaughnessy at St. Catherine University, 2004 Randolph Av., St. Paul. 651-690-6700 or www.oshaughnessy.stkate.edu.)
THREADS DANCE PROJECT
Friday-Sunday: Threads Dance Project, led by choreographer Karen Charles, returns to the Lab Theater this weekend with "Only Human," new and repertory works that reflect upon deeply personal stories. "Malignant" incorporates the work of sculptor Bill Jeter and composer Nioka Workman to look at experiences of 10 cancer survivors. The program also includes Charles' signature explorations of women's lives and the challenges they face when seeking meaning and respect. (8 p.m. Fri.-Sat., 2:30 p.m. Sun., $20, The Lab Theater, 700 N. 1st St., Mpls., 612-333-7977 or www.thelabtheater.org.)C.P.
GHOST BROTHERS OF DARKLAND COUNTY
Thursday: It's our luck that the new musical by rocker John Mellencamp and horror novelist Stephen King lands here on Halloween for a one-nighter. It's not a conventional musical — more like a radio show, says Mellencamp — and not a conventional ghost story (it's a Cain-and-Abel tale). Mellencamp talks about the work in Sunday's Variety section. (7:30 p.m. Thu. $39.50-$69.50. State Theatre, 805 Hennepin Av. S., Mpls. 612-339-7007 or www.hennepintheatretrust.org.)