FALL ARTS The Brother/Sister Plays The most anticipated event of a rather sparkling fall theater lineup is surely this triptych of plays penned by a 20-something playwright being hailed as a vital new voice in American theater. Tarell Alvin McCraney's celebrated trilogy, which premiered at New York's Public Theater, delves with potent language and exceptional theatrical imagination into the lives of ordinary people in the bayous of Louisiana, its setting and themes made more urgent than ever in the wake of manmade catastrophe in the gulf. To make room for this epic work, three of San Francisco's leading theaters are collaborating in the presentation of all three plays, with mid-September seeing the unveiling of In the Red and Brown Water at Marin Theatre Company and The Brothers Size at the Magic, and October following with Marcus, or the Secret of Sweet at ACT. Sept.–Oct., various venues; www.brothersisterplays.org.
How Can You Stay in the House All Day and Not Go Anywhere? Ralph Lemon began as a dancer/choreographer but has evolved into an interdisciplinary artist of broad scope and rigorous invention. Yerba Buena Center for the Arts presents his latest multimedia piece, which unfurls in four separate events or chapters, together combining live performance, visual art and film in various spaces. Oct. 7-9, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts; www.ybca.org.
Etiquette This half-hour, site-specific, audience-as-actor piece from lauded London-based experimental theater company Rotozaza plants two willing participants at a time in a San Francisco eatery (The Grove on Mission Street), wearing headphones that feed them their lines and actions. First launched in London in 2007, the globetrotting piece arrives in SF. Sept. 16-Oct. 3, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, www.ybca.org.
The Companion Piece A vaudeville duo struggle to cobble together their floundering opening act alongside the aesthetic perfection of the Headliner, as Z Space at Theater Artaud presents a new devised work conceived by actor Beth Wilmurt and directed by Mark Jackson. But this opportunity is more than the finished piece, which is still evolving ahead of its premiere in early 2011. This fall, audiences are invited into the process — by walking into the theater or watching streaming video online. Check the Z Space website for details. Jan. 16- Feb. 26, 2011, Z Space; www.zspace.org
Coraline It started as a book; it was made into a stop-motion animated feature; now it's a musical brought to life by composer Stephin Merritt (of the Magnetic Fields) and playwright David Greenspan (She Stoops to Comedy; Dead Mother). Together they compliment the decidedly weird imagination of author Neil Gaiman, a latter-day Lewis Carroll of the children's fiction genre who penned this creepy-funny story of a little girl's battle against chaos and evil in a bizarre world just on the other side of the drawing room door. This West Coast premiere by astute presenter SF Playhouse will mark only the second production of Coraline after its initial off-Broadway run in 2009. Nov. 16–Jan. 15, SF Playhouse; www.sfplayhouse.org.