Theater:  Garden of Delights

FELA! at the Shubert Theater: They don't make badasses like they used to. (Courtesy of the Shubert)

On Connecticut stage this fall, we've got Greeks (The Oresteia, directed by Mitchell Polin at Trinity College Dec. 1-13) and Moderns (three world premieres this season at the Yale Repertory Theatre alone, starting with Amy Herzog's relationship drama Belleville Oct. 21-Nov. 12) and Moderns revisiting Greeks (Lift Your Head, Wesleyan student Sarah Wolfe's retelling of Euripides' Trojan Women using adaptations by Charles Mee, Jean-Paul Sartre, Karen Hartman and Ellen McLaughlin, at the Wesleyan Center for the Arts Dec. 8-10).

Self-exploration and deceptive public identities — crucial elements of Greek tragedy — are major themes of the season, exemplified by Brian Dennehy starring in Krapp's Last Tape at the Long Wharf Theatre Nov. 29-Dec. 18. The Samuel Beckett duet between a man and his tape machine is playing Long Wharf Stage II at the same time that a more family-friendly examination of a fraught personal history, It's a Wonderful Life, plays on the mainstage.

The Long Wharf is not doing a new Athol Fugard play this year, as it did for the last two seasons. Long Wharf artistic director Gordon Edelstein is directing Fugard's The Road to Mecca at the Roundabout in New York instead. Edelstein's also helming the season-opening revival of Arthur Miller's The Crucible at Hartford Stage, through Sept. 35. Hartford Stage's brand-new artistic director, Darko Tresnjak, returns the favor by bringing his production of a much lighter witchy allegory, John Van Druten's Bell, Book and Candle, to Long Wharf next May (after it plays Hartford in April). Tresnjak's also at the Goodspeed Opera House, directing a rare revival of Larry Gelbart & Cy Coleman's noir pastiche City of Angels, Sept. 23-Nov. 27.

National tours rolling — or rather, flying — through the Bushnell in Hartford this fall include the Canadian troupe 7 Fingers' acrobatic, apocalyptic Traces (Sept. 27-Oct. 9) and the return of Peter Pan (with Cathy Rigby again donning the green, Nov. 22-27). New Haven's Shubert, meanwhile, scored a coup by nabbing a spot on the limited U.S. tour of the Afrobeat musical FELA!, Oct. 20-23. You can find further fantastic African-American choreography with Rennie Harris' Puremovement dance troupe Sept. 29 at the Wesleyan Center for the Arts.

The dance event of the season may well be Angel Reapers, Oct. 20 at UConn's Jorgensen Auditorium. This wild musing on the life of Ann Lee, founder of the Shaker religious movement, was written by Alfred Uhry of Mystic Pizza and Driving Miss Daisy fame and directed/choreographed by Martha Clarke, genre-busting creator of the Bosch tribute The Garden of Earthly Delights. On Oct. 13, another Connecticut-based choreographer, Judy Dworin, takes her multi-disciplinary piece In This House, about a Connecticut homestead that housed both slave-owners and abolitionists within the space of a few generations, to the Garde Arts Center in New London — the same city where the house exists as a historic landmark.

Several provocative New York hits are coming to Connecticut via new productions at small theaters and colleges. The rights to perform the musical Spring Awakening have finally been granted to colleges, and have been snapped up by Trinity College (Oct. 20-23). Hartford's TheaterWorks is doing The Motherfucker With the Hat, the Stephen Adly Guirgis play that starred Chris Rock on Broadway, Oct. 14-Dec. 4. Quinnipiac College's Theater for Community has the nasty-minded moralist Neil Labute's The Mercy Seat Sept. 29-Oct. 2.

Finally, a number of Trinity College students are studying with the legendary New York experimental theater LaMaMa ETC this semester, bringing their own performance showcase back to campus, along with a series of lectures on LaMama's 50-year history. Among the many things LaMama's known for — turning modern playwrights loose on Greek tragedies.