[Read about the events that our other critics have chosen for the week ahead.]
‘MARYS SEACOLE’ at the Claire Tow Theater (previews start on Feb. 9; opens on Feb. 25). Jackie Sibblies Drury, one of the theater’s most thrilling, form-flexing playwrights, returns with a new play set in the 19th century, now and points in between. Quincy Tyler Bernstine stars as a Jamaican woman with a lifetime of adventures and then some. Lileana Blain-Cruz directs.
‘MIES JULIE’ AND ‘THE DANCE OF DEATH’ at Classic Stage Company (in previews; opens on Feb. 10). Sex and spiritual violence inform these adapted August Strindberg plays, running in repertory at Classic Stage. Shariffa Ali directs Yaël Farber’s forceful adaptation of “Mies Julie,” which resets the action in post-apartheid South Africa. Conor McPherson’s take on “The Dance of Death,” about a marriage that will have couples counselors cowering in terror, is directed by Victoria Clark.
‘THE PLAY THAT GOES WRONG’ at New World Stages (previews start on Feb. 11; opens on Feb. 20). After going right on Broadway for a year and a half, this spoof of very amateur dramatics arrives Off Broadway as intact as a show that destroys its own set can be. Though Ben Brantley occasionally found the comic chaos exhausting, he wrote that there’s “a wild, redeeming poetry in such anarchy.”
‘SEA WALL’/‘A LIFE’ at the Public Theater (in previews; opens on Feb. 14). In these twinned monologues by Simon Stephens and Nick Payne, men contemplate life, death and fatherhood. Tom Sturridge, who starred in Stephens’s “Punk Rock,” plays a photographer covering a family story in “Sea Wall.” Jake Gyllenhaal, who has performed in two Payne pieces, delivers a monologue originally drawn from Payne’s personal experiences in “A Life.” Carrie Cracknell directs.
‘THE SHADOW OF A GUNMAN’ at the Irish Repertory Theater (in previews; opens on Feb. 12). Sean O’Casey, a great playwright of the Anglo-Irish renaissance, is reborn, courtesy of the Irish Rep. It will present all three of his major plays, beginning with this 1923 tragicomedy, directed by Ciaran O’Reilly. Set in the Dublin slums, it centers on a poet who perilously resembles an I.R.A. soldier.
‘BEHIND THE SHEET’ at Ensemble Studio Theater (closes on Feb. 17). Charly Evon Simpson’s moving drama about a controversial gynecologist has only a few appointments remaining. Colette Robert directs a drama inspired by J. Marion Sims, a physician who made his breakthroughs by experimenting on unanesthetized slave women. Ben Brantley wrote: “‘Behind the Sheet’ may be a quiet play. But its echoes are thunderous.”
‘EDDIE AND DAVE’ at Atlantic Stage 2 (closes on Feb. 17). Amy Staats’s semifactual tribute to the men of Van Halen plays its final power chords. In this gender-bent production, directed by Margot Bordelon, the rockers are portrayed by Staats and Megan Hill, which Ben Brantley said provides “a mind-bending glee in watching women taking on the extravagant guises of hot-dog rock ’n’ rollers.”
‘GOD SAID THIS’ at the Cherry Lane Theater (closes on Feb. 15). Leah Nanako Winkler’s Primary Stages play about a daughter returning home for her mother’s chemotherapy wraps up treatment. While Jesse Green noted that the director Morgan Gould’s production “feels like watching the action at a bumper car rink,” he was drawn to the drama’s “quiet moments of insight into character.”