The season is upon us. The Jungle and Children’s Theatre couldn’t wait until after Labor Day and opened shows last Friday. The Guthrie, Park Square and a couple of others are waiting until next week, but a bunch of theaters are raising the curtain on the 2015-16 season this weekend.
It’s a moody bunch of plays, ranging from a slightly whacked-out dramedy about a woman threatening to blow up her apartment rather than go to a nursing home, to 1930s communism in the American South to the Irish harvest, and to Sam Shepard’s fascination with family and the red, white and blue mythology.
‘Velocity of Autumn’
Old Log Theater is giving the regional premiere of a dramatic comedy by playwright Eric Coble. Melissa Hart and Paul de Cordova, both well-respected Twin Cities actors, portray a 79-year-old woman and her long-absent son. Alexandra, an artist, is locked in a quarrel with her family about where she will spend her waning years. Chris, her gay son, is beckoned by his siblings to talk some sense into the mother he hasn’t seen for 20 years.
Coble’s play originated at Arena Stage in Washington, D.C. It barely created a whisper with a short run on Broadway although Estelle Parsons was nominated for a Tony. Kent Knutson directs the production. Hart has a long and distinguished résumé, most prominently as Sally Bowles in the original Broadway production of “Cabaret.”
7:30 p.m. Fri.-Sat. and Thu.; 2 p.m. Sun., 1:30 p.m. Wed. Ends Oct. 24. 5185 Meadville St., Greenwood. $16-$35. 952-474-5951 or oldlog.com
‘Things of Dry Hours’
In another area premiere, a script by Naomi Wallace is set during the 1930s and features three people who are among the down and out. James Craven portrays Tice, a Sunday school teacher who finds more comfort in Karl Marx’s “Communist Manifesto.” Hope Cervantes portrays his daughter and Sam Bardwell is a man on the lam who seeks shelter. That triggers a discussion of racism and capitalism — which is the greater evil?
Wendy Knox will direct for Frank Theatre, which staged Wallace’s “Trestle at Pope Lick Creek” in 2000. That play, too, was set during the Great Depression and dealt with class and political issues.
8 p.m. Fri.-Sat. and Thu.; 2 p.m. Sun. Ends Oct. 5. Playwrights’ Center, 2301 E. Franklin Av., Mpls. $20-$25, 612-724-3760 or franktheatre.org
‘Dancing at Lughnasa’
Yellow Tree Theatre launches Season 8 with Brian Friel’s warm and elegiac drama about five sisters who feel strongly the native pull of seasons and Irish myth.
Jon Cranney directs Katherine Ferrand, Patrick O’Brien, Jason Ballweber and Jessica Lind Peterson in the cast. Cranney and Ferrand, who are married, have worked several times at Yellow Tree. Ballweber is of the Four Humors troupe and O’Brien is a terribly interesting actor who just completed a run of the solo “Underneath the Lintel” at the Minnesota Fringe Festival. Peterson founded Yellow Tree with her husband, Jason.
7:30 p.m. Fri.-Sat., Wed.-Thu.; 2 p.m. Sun. Ends Oct 11; Yellow Tree, 320 5th Av. SE., Osseo; $18-$25, 763-493-8733 or yellowtreetheatre.com
‘The Little Pilot’
The Sandbox Collective has been making ensemble-based theater for more than a decade. In this show, the group has built a show revolving around the life of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, a writer (“The Little Prince”) and aviator who presumably crashed during a reconnaissance mission in World War II.
Sandbox has added aerial acrobatics to their physical mix this time, in a project being led by Evelyn Digirolamo and Kristina Fjellman. The show mixes fact and fancy in telling the story of “The Little Pilot,” beginning with his final flight and then working back to his childhood, his military service and his sojourn in New York.
7:30 p.m. Fri.-Sat., 2 p.m. Sun. Ends Oct. 4. Southern Theatre, 1420 Washington Av. S., Mpls. $24. southern.ticketworks.com
‘A Lie of the Mind’
Theatre Pro Rata brings back Sam Shepard’s farrago on the American Dream. The gripping story follows a man (Nate Cheeseman) who has left a woman (Amy Pirkl) on the verge of death. He retreats to his childhood home and she eventually returns to hers. Shepard is most interested in the dynamics when families erode, or swell with togetherness. It’s a fearless piece of work that has themes more overtly American than Shepard’s other work — all of which reveals his puzzlement over the people of this nation.
A product of the Guthrie BFA program, Cheeseman has worked with Walking Shadow, the Guthrie and Park Square.
7:30 p.m. Sat.-Mon. Ends Sept. 27. Nimbus Theater, 1517 Central Av. NE. $14-$41. 612-234-7135. theatreprorata.org