Whenever people ask for theater recommendations, I always point them toward Word for Word. If you’re not a literary buff, it’s excellent theater. If you were an English major or consistently check out eight books at a time from the public library, you’ll be blasted into geek heaven. Word for Word brings literature to life, complete with all the he-saids, she-saids of the original.

The season opens with Olive Kitteridge, by Elizabeth Stout. Quirky and stoic, Olive is the relentlessly blunt schoolmarm of a small coastal town in Maine. Two stories - “Tulips” and “River”  - from this acclaimed novel have been staged, sending Olive on an expedition through the creeping darkness of tragedy and the keenly funny light of courtship. Stout captures humanity masterfully, and Word for Word gives us Olive in the flesh - a brisk wind in human form, both chilling and invigorating for the lucky folks she interacts with.
Through October 10. Theater Artaud, 450 Florida St. Tickets are $30-40 at 415-626-0453 or zspace.org.