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The Woolgatherer 

So who else besides Bruce Springsteen and Tony Soprano speak for the Garden State? Before moving to the West Coast and focusing more on television scripts, William Mastrosimone was New Jersey's best-known contemporary playwright, winning attention with odd works like Extremities. His early play The Woolgatherer (1979) is about an unlikely couple of loners who have crossed paths. Rose is a shy cashier prone to daydreaming and living in a world of her own delusions. She meets Cliff, a witty but rougher-edged truck driver who also has a very solitary life. She takes him home to her tiny efficiency apartment in Philadelphia, and they try to get to know each other before Cliff realizes it's no easy hook-up with the complicated and mysterious girl. But he wants to find the truth hidden behind all of her illusions. InSideOut Productions' Jim Winter directs Michael Aaron Santos and Ashley Ricord. Tickets $14, $12 students, $10 opening night. -- Will Coviello

8 p.m. Thu.-Sat., Sept. 7-9; through Sept. 23

The Big Top, 1638 Clio St., 616-6066; www.3rcp.com

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