Adam loves Luke. Luke loves Adam. Luke also loves Jesus. Adam worries about which of them Luke loves more. Luke worries about Adam's immortal soul. Next Fall, making its Chicago premiere at AstonRep, looks back on their sometimes prickly five-year relationship. At times, like when the subjects of prayer, sin, and the Rapture come up, it risks becoming a play of ideas, with more speechifying than conversation. Fortunately, Geoffrey Nauffts's script leaves room for ambiguity and gives the characters personalities as well as points of view. The cast give them life and humor—particularly Ryan Hamlin and Mark Jacob Chaitin, who play Adam and Luke, and Lona Livingston and Jim Morley, who play Luke's parents. The result is charming, funny, and, ultimately, moving. —Aimee Levitt $15-20
Friedrich Schiller's first play, from 1781, recalls the Gloucester subplot of King Lear: a charismatic villain steals the inheritance and position of his virtuous brother, and their father realizes too late that he's trusted the wrong son. Schiller turns the bad seed, Francis, into a despotic count, while his wronged sibling, Charles, becomes the morally conflicted leader of a band of thieves. Brad Gunter's modern-dress staging for Strangeloop Theatre has an all-female cast and a let's-play-dress-up framing device that's ill defined and unnecessary. The director's occasional heavy-handedness is redeemed, however, by the show's whiz-bang pacing—even during long speeches on the nature of freedom—and swashbuckling performances, especially Margo Chervony's blazing turn as Francis. —Zac Thompson $10-$15
Photographic prints that celebrate alternative sexuality. Reception Fri 2/1, 7 PM.