By Mike Vargo- originially published here.

BLISS by Mikhail Bulgakov. Oct. 1-4, Carnegie Mellon School of Drama

If satirical dystopian fantasy is your cup of tea, don’t miss Bliss, written by a virtuoso of the genre. Much of Bulgakov’s work was suppressed during his lifetime in Stalinist Russia, but he is known worldwide today for a novel published after his death: The Master and Margarita, in which the Devil visits the Soviet Union. (The book is said to have inspired the Rolling Stones song “Sympathy for the Devil.”) Bliss is a time-travel play about a bizarre workers’ paradise of the future, where alcohol runs from the water taps and everything is peachy, except for certain details. Carnegie Mellon drama students are performing a new English version translated and directed by master’s candidate Margo Gray, who has studied at the Moscow Art Theatre School. Get tickets early for this short run. Helen Wayne Rauh Studio Theater, Purnell Center at Carnegie Mellon, 5000 Forbes Ave., Oakland.

SEVEN GUITARS by August Wilson. Oct. 2-11, Carnegie Mellon School of Drama

The action in Seven Guitars revolves around Floyd “Schoolboy” Barton and his buddies in Pittsburgh’s Hill District. Barton, a (fictional) blues musician and ladies’ man, aims for the stars but is pulled in the other direction—a recurring theme of August Wilson’s plays, which veer from high comedy to epic tragedy as they depict people torn between lofty visions and low-down deeds and circumstances. Seven Guitars is a rousing piece, with great music. Just keep an eye out for Hedley, the neighborhood’s self-anointed prophet, whose hair-raising tirades drive the darker messages home. Tickets for this “mainstage” production will put you in the Phillip Chosky Theater at Carnegie Mellon’s Purnell Center, 5000 Forbes Ave., Oakland.