SHOCKHEADED PETERThis antic musical about the exceedingly grim fates met by misbehaving Victorian tykes wants to jolt and disorient you. It does. It also wants to entertain you, and it does that too. A New England premiere ingeniously directed by Steven Bogart, with a strong cast led by Alexandria King as a kind of tour guide from (and to) hell. Through April 4. Coproduction of Company One Theatre and Suffolk University. Modern Theatre at Suffolk University. 866-811-4111,
TRISTAN & YSEULTIn this contemporized adaptation of the medieval myth that formed the basis for Wagner’s hypnotic “Tristan und Isolde,’’ the British theater company Kneehigh casts a very different kind of spell. With its imaginative, sometimes uproarious blend of nightclub act, verse drama, dance, slapstick, and even elements of circus, “Tristan & Yseult’’ unfolds like a party to which everyone is invited. A dreamlike eroticism is also very much part of the atmospheric mix, and there are moments of throat-catching beauty in this tale of star-crossed lovers, especially in a finale that is a visually and aurally ravishing coup de theatre. Directed and adapted by Emma Rice. Through March 15. Production by Kneehigh, presented by ArtsEmerson, at Cutler Majestic Theatre, Boston. 617-824-8400, www.artsemerson.org
GROUNDEDCeleste Oliva brings a coiled, unpredictable intensity to her portrayal of a hard-edged fighter pilot who plunges into a psychological morass after she is reassigned to work as a military drone operator, dealing out remote-control death from thousands of miles away. Oliva’s riveting performance in George Brant’s solo drama adds a new dimension to her already stellar reputation. Directed by Lee Mikeska Gardner. Through March 22. Nora Theatre Company, at Central Square Theater, Cambridge. 617-576-9278, www.centralsquaretheater.org
INTIMATE APPARELDirector Summer L. Williams’s attention to intimately emotional details pays off with a first-rate ensemble that creates richly nuanced and emotionally complex characters for this quietly heartbreaking and heroic tale. At some level, playwright Lynn Nottage’s play is a simple love story between a quiet seamstress and a lonely laborer set at the turn of 20th century New York, but the beauty of this production lies in the elegant touches every member of this ensemble adds to the design. Through March 14. Lyric Stage Company of Boston. 617-585-5678, www.lyricstage.com
JOSÉ MATEO BALLET THEATREMateo’s upcoming repertory program, “Transient Currents,” offers a second chance to see the choreographer’s ambitious “Vanished Verses” (2013), danced to Bach’s Cello Suite in D Major. The program also features “Time Beyond Time” (2005), set to Messiaen’s searing “Quartet for the End of Time,” and the Cuban-inspired “Pagano y No.” March 13-29. $42. Sanctuary Theatre, Cambridge. 617-354-7467, www.ballet
ISRAEL FOLK DANCE FESTIVAL OF BOSTON Gathering together dance troupes from across North America, this annual event features hundreds of dancers, including children and teens as well as adults. Weaving together diverse strands of Jewish heritage, from Spain to Yemen, the colorful celebration showcases the vibrant dances of Israeli culture. March 15, 3 p.m., $5-$15. MIT’s Kresge Auditorium, Cambridge. 617-658-3655, www.bostonfestival.org
INCLINED | INTIMATIONS Boston-based company Intimations Dance extends its collaborative spirit to this joint concert with Kristen Klein’s Brooklyn-based contemporary troupe Inclined Dance Project, which brings the premiere of “Temporizer,” an exploration of different kinds of energies. March 13-14, 8 p.m., $12-$15. Dance Complex, Cambridge. 781-330-0535, www.intimationsdance.com
MEREDYTH KNOWS CERAMICS Independent curator Meredyth Hyatt Moses brings her edgy, earthy, refined eye to one of her favorite mediums. Offerings range from Angela Cunningham’s intricate biomorphic pieces to Chris Gustin’s voluptuous vessels and Wesley Anderegg’s offbeat figures. Through March 28. Gallery NAGA, 67 Newbury St. 617-267-9060, www.gallerynaga.com
SHADI GHADIRIAN Ghadirian, an Iranian photographer, investigates how Iranian women present themselves. In an adjunct show at Robert Klein Gallery @ Ars Libri, Tahmineh Monzavi, another photographer in Iran, documents under-the-radar subjects such as addicts and a transgender woman. Through March 28. Robert Klein Gallery, 38 Newbury St. 617-267-7997, www.robertkleingallery.com
Three artists — Gary Duehr, Jennifer Liston Munson, and David Palmquist — blend photography with painting and printmaking in ways that suggest time and space passing, and evince the intangible qualities of memory. Through April 11. Brickbottom Gallery,
1 Fitchburg St., Somerville. 617-776-3410, www.brickbottom
WHEN THE STARS BEGIN TO FALL: IMAGINATION AND THE AMERICAN SOUTH
Thirty-five artists, including Kara Walker, Theaster Gates, and David Hammons, in a show that explores both the myth and the reality of the American South. Through May 10. Institute of Contemporary Art. 617-478-3100, www.icaboston.org
PRETTY RAW: AFTER AND AROUND HELEN FRANKENTHALER
A new view of postwar-to-contemporary American art, as seen through the lens of Helen Frankenthaler who stained her canvases with softer colors. Includes work by Grace Hartigan, Larry Rivers, Jane Freilicher, Lynda Benglis, Morris Louis, Andy Warhol, Carroll Dunham, Kathy Butterly, and others. Through June 7. Rose Art Museum, Brandeis University, Waltham. 781-736-3434, www.brandeis.edu/rose
PAST FUTURES: SCIENCE
FICTION, SPACE TRAVEL,
AND POSTWAR ART OF THE AMERICAS
Art by US and some Latin American artists that responded to new vistas opened up by the space race, science fiction, and Cold War technological innovation. Through June 7. Bowdoin College Museum of Art, Brunswick, Maine. 207-725-3275, www.bowdoin.edu/art-museum
LEGACY OF FIRE: CLAY DRAGON STUDIOS REVISITED A retrospective of ceramic work produced by 10 artists at the innovative Clay Dragon Studios in Cambridge between 1976 and 1984. Through April 26. Fuller Craft Museum, Brockton. 508-588-6000, www.fullercraft.org
For the Boston premiere of “The Blues Project,” Toshi Reagon and her band BIGLovely lay down original blues while firebrand hoofer Michelle Dorrance and her nine-member company recall bygone eras of tap, with a zesty sprinkle of here and now. Presented by World Music/CRASHarts. March 13-15, $36-$40. Institute of Contemporary Art. 617-876-4275, www.worldmusic.org KAREN CAMPBELL
Lipsky’s rhythmic geometric abstractions, all bars and rectangles, feel surprisingly organic, thanks to her slow accumulation of layers of paint, which reveal traces of the artist’s hand and a keen eye for color relationships.
Pictured: “Red River Valley I.’’ Through April 25.
ACME Fine Art, 450 Harrison Ave. 617-585-9551, www.acmefineart.com CATE McQUAIDDon Aucoin can be reached at email@example.com.