Anton in Show Business

“The American theater’s in a shitload of trouble.” So reads the opening line in the latest offering from the small St. Paul-based troupe Starting Gate Productions. As both poison-pen letter and love note to the theater, this play is directed by a woman with no small opinions on the matter: Leah Cooper, former executive director of the Minnesota Fringe Festival. Anton depicts the chaos behind the scenes of a production of Chekhov’s Three Sisters. An all-female cast depicts everyone involved, from producers and actors to critics. Embedded within Jane Martin’s drama are countless meta-theater references; characters range from an Our Town-esque stage manager to audience members who just won’t shut up.

Mounds Theatre, 1029 Hudson Rd., St. Paul; 651-645-3503.