Compulsion Berkeley Rep, New York's Public Theater. and Yale Repertory Theatre present Rinne Groff's play based on the life of writer Meyer Levin and his complex obsession with producing his own version of a play based on the diary of Anne Frank. The Public's Oscar Eustis, who cut his teeth at San Francisco's storied Eureka Theater in the 1980s setting, among other things, Angels in America aloft, returns to the Bay Area to direct lead Mandy Patinkin amid a cast augmented by marionettes. Sept. 13-Oct. 31, Berkeley Rep; www.berkeleyrep.org.
San Francisco Fringe Festival A perennial, a pearl, a Road Trip to Pluto (judging by one title), the Exit Theatre–sponsored San Francisco Fringe Festival is always a trip. Sept. 8–19, various venues; www.sffringe.org.
Port Out, Starboard Home I recently saw a staged reading of this new work from New York playwright Sheila Callaghan at the Bay Area Playwrights Festival. While Callaghan is still developing the piece with producing company foolsFURY, it seems clear the finished product — set aboard a mysteriously intense cruise liner among a group of vacationing seekers in the material world — should be well worth a look. But this production has yet to find a safe harbor. It will apparently be docking at a theater near you this fall. Date and venue TBD; www.foolsfury.org.
Failure to Communicate Performers Under Stress (PUS) opens its season with a new work of physical theater channeling the perspectives and inner visions of students and teachers at an inner-city high school for severely behavior disordered, emotionally disturbed, learning disabled children, based on the teaching experiences of the company's managing director, Valerie Fachman. Oct. 29-Nov. 14, The Garage; www.pustheatre.com
Anton in Show Business (Sept. 2–Sept. 26) Three nightmare actresses come together in San Antonio, Texas, for a dismaying production of Chekhov's Three Sisters in Jane Martin's 2001 award-winning send-up of the theater world. Oakland's ever able TheatreFIRST leads off its new season with this swift and ruthless backstage comedy, helmed by artistic director Michael Storm and featuring a strong all-female cast meting out satirical justice to the men and women (and critics) of the art form and the dubious cultural landscape at large. Sept. 2-26, Marion E. Greene Black Box Theater; www.theatrefirst.com.