Donatien Alphonse Francois de Sade -- better known as the Marquis de Sade -- left quite a mark on the world, as well as on his many lovers. The man who lent his name to the practice of deriving sexual pleasure from the pain of others was imprisoned for long stretches of his life because of his depravities, or perhaps because of his writing. His libertine philosophies informed his plays, novels and political tracts, making him a doubly dangerous individual. In his award-winning Quills, playwright Doug Wright explores the complex nature of the man some see as the ultimate free thinker, and others view as a deplorable pervert. If an artist isn't supposed to kick against the pricks, then what good is he? Max & Louie Productions opens its new season with Quills. Performances take place at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday (July 31 through August 17) in the Wool Studio Theatre at the Jewish Community Center (2 Millstone Campus Drive, Creve Coeur; www.maxandlouie.com). Tickets are $25 to $30.
Thursdays, 7:30 p.m.; Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2 p.m. Starts: July 31. Continues through Aug. 17, 2014