On Stage

Prisoners of Fortune

Four local productions underscore what happens when people are in the wrong place at the wrong time



“Look like the innocent flower, but be the serpent under it.” When a Scottish warrior learns his future, he conspires to murder the king and place himself on the throne – with a few pep talks from his alpha wife – but the mysterious witches promise a terrible downfall as well. Even at the height of his rule, Macbeth must cover up his crimes, eliminate competitors, and quell a popular protest. The theme of corrupt, upwardly mobile politicians never gets old, which is one reason Trinity Rep will stage the Shakespearean classic in a modern setting. Directed by legendary director Curt Columbus, Trinity’s Macbeth is full of clever twists. Catch the 400-year-old tragedy in all its bloody glory. January 31–March 3. 

Red Bike

You can see a lot from a bicycle, especially when you’re an 11-year-old kid careening through the streets of a very adult world. What if you could give that pre-teen all the lyrical language and hyper-awareness of a skilled dramatist? Composed by Philadelphia playwright Caridad Svich as part of a cycle of performance pieces, Red Bike explores gritty social themes, like urban poverty and gentrification, from the perspective of a bike seat. The play has been workshopped and performed at various theatres across the country, garnering acclaim and awards, and the Wilbury Theatre Group will stage its Rhode Island premiere this month. February 21-March 3. 

The Shadow Box

Three patients have signed up for a psychological experiment. All they have to do is stay at a hospital, receive treatments, and follow instructions. But after a series of interviews, they face some bitter news – and worse, it’s hard to tell whether that news is true. Will Joe, Brian, and Felicity return to their loved ones, and has the research team really tried to help them? The Shadow Box is a rich character study by playwright Michael Cirstofer. Catch this rare staging of the 1977 play by The Players at Barker Playhouse. January 23 - February 3. 

The Mousetrap

A remote country inn. A swelling snowstorm. A strange assortment of guests. And then – murder! There’s a reason this mind-bending whodunit is one of the most-produced stage plays of all time: The oddball characters and nonstop suspense are already enough to keep viewers riveted, but it’s the incredible twist ending that makes Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap such a timeless thrill. Catch the Academy Players’ latest version of the murder-mystery classic, and see how many bodies pile up before you can guess the culprit. February 7-17.