Toy Theatre After Dark

Toy theater has surged in recent years thanks to groundbreaking independent companies like the Open Eye Figure Theatre and In the Heart of the Beast. But if the phrase "toy theater" evokes images of a dollhouse-sized auditorium or a play starring Barbie dolls and Teddy Ruxpins, let us clear things up. The genre spans everything from shows-in-a-suitcase and paper marionettes to shadow plays and stop-motion animation, but one thing is consistent: Everything is in miniature form. The new wave of miniaturists featured in Open Eye's Toy Theatre After Dark festival offer a fresh take on an antiquated art form. There will also be an opening reception after Friday's show, an artist Q&A following Saturday's performance, an artist panel (11 a.m. April 21, free), a late-night cabaret (10 p.m. April 21, $10) and workshops. -Jahna Peloquin

James Sewell Ballet

James Sewell Ballet and the Schubert Club present a repertory favorite, "Opus 131," set to Beethoven's challenging String Quartet in C-sharp minor, performed live by the Grammy Award-winning Parker Quartet. Complexity and structure intertwine through movement and music in a work celebrating the beauty within relationships and rule-breaking. The program also features "A Sound Embrace," a world premiere by Sewell pairing elements of Argentine tango and improvisation. A sneak peek this year revealed a work that draws upon passion and humor to create an unexpected yet effective partnership. -Caroline Palmer

'Where We're Born'

Leah Cooper directs this production by 20% Theatre Company. The play by Lucy Thurber focuses on a young college woman (Lindsay Marcy) who returns to her small-town home. She finds herself alienated from her old crowd of hard-partying friends and gets caught in a lust entanglement with her cousin and his girlfriend (Anthony Neuman, Becka Linder). 20% Theatre has done well with this sort of gritty, intense drama. Headed by Claire Avitabile, the company has a fearless appetite for subjects that make us squeamish. -Graydon Royce