Studio Theatre gets the new season underway with two productions. Circle Mirror Transformation (September 8 - October 17), from hot new playwright Annie Baker, received the 2010 Obie Award in New York for Best New American Play. The quirky story, performed in the Mead Theatre, is set in a rural community center's theater class, where acting exercises create real drama. Studio's 2ndStage has Songs of the Dragons Flying to Heaven (September 29 - October 24), playwright Young Jean Lee's perversely comic looks at Asian -- and Asian-American -- identity.
It's been a novel, a film, and now Patricia Highsmith's The Talented Mr. Ripley (September 8 -26) is receiving its regional theater debut at Round House Theatre in Bethesda. In the play, an enigmatic American conman in Italy is determined to gain wealth and social status, even if it takes murder. The psychological thriller is recommended for ages 17 and up. Also based on a book, in this case from Edith Wharton, Glimpses of the Moon (September 8 -17) is a Jazz Age musical set in 1922 New York. Alexandria's MetroStage has the show in which pals Suzy and Nick hatch a scheme to marry and live off wedding presents, while they each look for millionaires.
Top local thespian Rick Foucheux takes on serious work in Theater J's production of Something You Did (through October 3). A prisoner petitions for parole after 30 years in prison for her part in a fatal anti-Vietnam War bombing. She meets the daughter of the dead man, even as her former friend, now a neo-con media star (Foucheux) works against her release. The War in Afghanistan receives theatrical attention this month, too, as Shakespeare Theatre Company lends Harman Hall to Britain's Tricycle Theatre Company and The Great Game: Afghanistan (September 15 -25). Twelve American and English playwrights collaborated on three separate plays exploring Western involvement in Afghanistan since 1842.
There's danger and deceit in stamp collecting, at least in Theresa Rebeck's thriller Mauritius (September 10 - October 3), at 1st Stage in McLean. After their mother's death, estranged sisters discover a book of rare stamps, enticing three seedy, high-stakes collectors. The Factory 449 "theatre collective" has the world premiere of The Saint Plays (Church Street Theatre, September 16 - October 10) from playwright Erik Ehn. The collective describes the play as "mystical storytelling, a theatrical journey that re-imagines the historical lives of the saints in a contemporary landscape."
Work from two of the brightest writers of television's "golden age" of live drama is onstage this month. The Tenth Man (September 17 - October 16) is a comic drama from 1959 about a Jewish exorcism, written by Paddy Chayefsky, author of such acclaimed dramas as Marty and Network. The American Century Theater performs the play at The Gunston Arts Center's Theater II in Arlington. In Bethesda, The Heritage- O'Neill Theatre Company is staging Requiem for a Heavyweight (September 23 - October 23). Rod Serling -- of The Twilight Zone fame -- wrote the 1956 Peabody Award-winning masterpiece about a washed-up boxer and the men who control him.
Olney Theatre Center's Mainstage is featuring a great writer from a slightly earlier age, George Bernard Shaw. His Misalliance (September 29 - October 24) is an archly comic country house comedy, set in 1909. Forum Theatre, ensconced in Round House Theatre's Silver Spring annex, has Scorched (September 30 - October 23), Lebanese-born playwright Wajdi Mouawad's intense look at war and families. And Ganymede Arts stages the Finn/Lapine musical Falsettos (September 10 - October 10) at DC's Noi's Nook at go mama go!
GALA Hispanic Theatre has a new adaptation of one of Spanish dramatist Lope de Vega's most poetic works, El caballero de Olmedo/The Knight from Olmedo (September 16 - October 17). It's a tragicomedy about passionate love doomed by bitter rivalry between two Spanish towns, and is performed in Spanish with English surtitles.
For the kids, Glen Echo Park's Adventure Theatre has the American premiere of Spot's Birthday Party (September 17 - November 2). Spot, the hero of Eric Hill's award-winning books, is everyone's favorite puppy and you can help him celebrate with games and songs.