Pillsbury House, Jungle, Park Square open new shows . . . next weekend

Pucker up and die, dammit: Shirley Venard and Steve Hendrickson in "Vigil" at Pillsbury House
Pucker up and die, dammit: Shirley Venard and Steve Hendrickson in "Vigil" at Pillsbury House
by Travis Anderson

There is an unwritten law that thou shalt not open a new show over a holiday such as Labor Day weekend, which makes a lot of sense: with the tail end of summer having arrived much too fast, most of us will be trying to squeeze in some final revelry before the sun sets on the glory days. Next weekend, however, is another matter entirely.

Somehow the descent into autumn is often accompanied by a burst of industry and activity. Maybe it's a subconscious apprehension of death, to which we respond by a flurry of labor in order to stave off our apprehension of the inevitable. Maybe it's to pay off all those bar tabs and road trips we put on our credit card over the summer.

Or maybe it's just time to get something done. In any case, here's a highlight of five shows opening next weekend. Seeing them all from Friday to Sunday will be impossible. That doesn't mean we won't probably try.

Vigil opens at Pillsbury House Theatre. It's the story of a bitter bank worker who takes over caring for his elderly aunt with one eye on her inheritance. The problem: She won't die. This is purportedly a dark, funny, distinctive thing.

Over at the Jungle, a production of The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams is hitting the stage. Classic play? Check. Intimate, psychically charged space? Check. Weird, twisted emotional textures? And how.

Park Square offers up The Last Seder. It's the story of four grown daughters who return home for Passover. While each of the daughters has oddities and complications in their own lives in this comedic drama, it turns out the parents aren't exactly firing on all cyllinders thenselves.

Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead opens at Theatre in the Round. This Tom Stoppard play, based on a couple of minor characters in Hamlet doing their thing behind the scenes while the major action happens offstage, is rightly regarded as a postmodern classic. If you haven't seen it, give TRP's solid community theater a shot.

And Theatre Pro Rata opens up Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew. It's got two sisters, their suitors, and a battle of the wits between the sexes. Oh no, a battle of wits--my side's in trouble.

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