NEXT FALL A humane and emotionally resonant play by Arlington native Geoffrey Nauffts, superbly acted by a cast of six and insightfully directed by Scott Edmiston, about a gay couple struggling to sustain a relationship amid stark religious differences (one is a fundamentalist Christian, one is a nonbeliever). Through Oct. 15. SpeakEasy Stage Company, Roberts Studio Theatre, Boston Center for the Arts. 617-933-8600, www.speakeasystage.com
MORTAL TERROR The second play in Robert Brustein’s Shakespeare trilogy is a witty and worldly exploration of the multifarious forces that converge to create that mysterious thing called theater - including, in this case, a kingly command that gives rise to “Macbeth.’’ Through Oct. 2. Coproduction of Suffolk University and Boston Playwrights’ Theatre. At Modern Theatre. 866-811-4111, www.bostonplaywrights.org or www.moderntheatre.com
HIS GIRL FRIDAY A crackerjack production, with an adaptation by John Guare and direction by Curt Columbus, that plays like a love story about the irresistible allure of the news business. Fred Sullivan Jr. plays editor Walter Burns with endlessly inventive rascality, while Angela Brazil brings fire and wit to the role of ace reporter Hildy Johnson. Through Oct. 9. Trinity Repertory Company, Providence. 401-351-4242, www.trinityrep.com
RENT In a New Repertory Theatre production that features standout performances by Aimee Doherty and John Ambrosino, director Benjamin Evett navigates that fine line between the heart-on-its-sleeve earnestness essential to this musical’s success and the melodramatic excess that perpetually threatens to capsize it. Through Oct. 2. New Repertory Theatre, Arsenal Center for the Arts, Charles Mosesian Theater, Watertown. 617-923-8487, www.new rep.org
THE DING DONGS, OR WHAT IS THE PENALTY IN PORTUGAL? Playwright Brenda Withers toys expertly with the line between possession and dispossession, everyday suburban life and surreal nightmare, while dissolving that line in her own performance as a woman who, along with her husband, perpetrates a very unusual sort of home invasion. Through Oct. 9. Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theater, Harbor Stage, Wellfleet. 508-349-9428, www.what.org
BROKEN SHADOWS José Mateo Ballet Theatre’s first concert of the season takes a walk on the dark side with three ballets spanning nearly 20 years: the dramatically intense “Isle of the Dead’’ (1993), the psychologically freighted “Sound Secrets’’ (2010), and “Circles’’ (2010), about a woman teetering on the brink of insanity. Sept. 30-Oct. 30. $38. Sanctuary Theatre, Cambridge. 617-354-7467, www.ballettheatre.org
DANCE SHOWCASE2011 Boston University’s annual fall concert of works by faculty, alumni, and guests is a wide-ranging affair, including an excerpt from the Dawn Kramer/Stephen Buck dance/video collaboration “Body of Water,’’ Yo-el Cassell’s duet to live music “Gravitate,’’ and Lynn Modell’s humorous “Mangled Tango,’’ which promises smoldering glances, flirtations, and hot flashes. Sept. 30-Oct. 1. $10-$15. Boston University Dance Theater. 617-358-2500, www.bu.edu/fitrec/dance
LOVE SONGS OF THE DARK LORD A third-generation Bharatanatyam dancer, teacher, and choreographer, Malini Srinivasan showcases the ancient Indian dance form’s complex rhythmic footwork and intricate gestural patterns in this evening of dance with live orchestra, featuring voice, violin, mridangam and tambura. Oct. 1. Free. Wellesley College’s Jewett Auditorium, Wellesley. 781-283-2028, www.wellesley.edu
TWIST & SHOUT! OrigiNation’s evening of dance, music, and spoken word benefits the organization’s cultural center and features performances by NIA Dance Troupe, Aleye Boyz Troupe, Girlz of IMANI, IMANI, Jr. and Omekongo. Hosted by NECN anchor Latoyia Edwards, the evening also honors hip-hop pioneers Billy and Bobby McClain, among others. Oct. 1. $15-$35. Roxbury Community College Mainstage Theater. 617-541-1875, www.originationinc.org
ALEX WEBB AND REBECCA NORRIS WEBB: VIOLET ISLE Alex Webb, a street photographer, pursues the gaps that emerge when immigrants, transients, and children inhabit the same spaces. Rebecca Norris Webb, his wife, explores in her photographs the relationship between people and nature. Through Oct. 22. Robert Klein Gallery, 38 Newbury St. 617-267-7997, www.robertkleingallery.com
OBJECTS OF STATUS, POWER, AND ADORNMENT: THE STUDIO JEWELRY MOVEMENT 1950-2011 Dozens of artists, from master metalsmiths to emerging talents, work with a myriad of materials and techniques to fashion unique jewelry. Participating artists include Arline Fisch, Masumi Kataoka, and Petra Class. Through Nov. 12. Mobilia Gallery, 358 Huron Ave., Cambridge. 617-876-2109. www.mobilia-gallery.com
JOHN GRILLO: THE ABSTRACT EXPRESSIONIST YEARS The artist, now 94, was actively involved in the abstract expressionist movements in New York and San Francisco in the 1950s and 1960s. This show includes woodcuts, lithographs, works on paper, and paintings. Through Oct. 15. David Hall Fine Art, 555 Washington St., Wellesley. 781-235-0955, www.dhallfineart.com
ELLEN BANKS: MUSICAL MANIFESTATIONS: COMPOSITIONS IN WAX, PAPER, AND YARN Banks works exclusively from printed musical scores, transforming the formal elements of musical notation into colorful, textured, mixed-media abstractions. She explores the ways humans communicate through repeating symbolic patterns. Through Oct. 30. Sherman Gallery, Boston University, 775 Commonwealth Ave. 617-358-0295, www.bu.edu/cfa/visual-arts
PRINTS AND THE PURSUIT OF KNOWLEDGE IN EARLY MODERN EUROPE A rich and scholarly exhibition delving into the connections between artists and science through the dissemination of prints, maps, books, and scientific instruments in the 16th century. Through Dec. 10. Harvard Art Museums. 617 495 9400, www.harvardartmuseums.org.
EDWARD HOPPER’S MAINE The first exhibition to focus on the paintings, prints and drawings produced by Hopper on his summer visits to Maine. Through Oct. 16. Bowdoin College Museum of Art, Brunswick, Maine. 207-725-3275, www.bowdoin.edu/art-museum
RICHARD BELL: UZ VS. THEM A career survey of the provocative and playful work of Australian Aboriginal artist and activist Richard Bell. Through Nov. 20. Tufts University Art Gallery. 617-627-3518, www.ase.tufts.edu/gallery.
TEMPORARY STRUCTURES: PERFORMING ARCHITECTURE IN CONTEMPORARY ART Work by artists interested in the intersection between architectural space and performance, including Vito Acconci, Kate Gilmore, Gordon Matta-Clark, and Erwin Wurm. Through Dec. 31. DeCordova Sculpture Park and Museum, Lincoln. 781 259 8355, www.decordova.org.
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