The unnamed country in Ingmar Villqist's Helver's Night is perilously close to societal collapse. Helver, a boy in a man's body, couldn't be more excited about the prospect. With his childlike fascination in soldiers and shouting, Helver is delighted by the mobs rampaging in the streets. Oh, and screaming dirty names at his neighbors while smashing their windows — that's fun, too. But Carla, Helver's mother (at least in the sense that she takes care of him), is not as thrilled by the new regime. And so over the course of a harrowing and tender night, Carla attempts to make Helver understand the terrifying effects of brutal power unleashed on a world that is not as innocent as Helver — and how this power will grind someone as innocent as Helver into paste. Upstream Theater opens its new season with the American premiere of Helver's Night at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 7 p.m. Sunday (October 9 through 24) with a 3 p.m. performance on Sunday, October 25, at the Kranzberg Arts Center (501 North Grand Boulevard; 314-863-4999 or www.upstreamtheater.org). Tickets are $15 to $25.
Fridays-Sundays. Starts: Oct. 9. Continues through Oct. 25, 2009