Magic becomes a metaphor for theater in Tony Kushner's adaptation of "The Illusion," a 1636 comedy by Pierre Corneille. Feeling his mortality, an aging lawyer enlists a magician to help him track down and reconcile with the estranged son he hasn't seen in 15 years. The young fellow, it turns out, has led a life, or lives, of thrills and spills that resolve in a final comic twist.
* "The Illusion," McKinney Theatre, Saddleback College, 28000 Marguerite Parkway, Mission Viejo. Friday and Saturday, 8 p.m.; Sunday 3 p.m. $8-$9. (714) 949-582-4656.
"A Company of Wayward Saints," an early-'60s vintage comedy by George Herman, is a parable about conflicted, pettily competitive people who, like it or not, need to cooperate and get along to achieve their goals. It concerns a fraying troupe of commedia dell'arte players who, at the outset, seem more intent on upstaging one another than fulfilling their roles and amusing the audience.
* "A Company of Wayward Saints," Chance Theatre, 5576 E. La Palma Ave., Anaheim Hills. Friday and Saturday, 8 p.m.; Sunday, 2 p.m. $13-$15. (714) 777-3033.
"Failing Kansas," by New York composer Mikel Krause, was inspired by Truman Capote's "In Cold Blood," a true-crime novel about the 1959 murder of the Clutter family of Holcolm, Kan., and the lives of the murderers. The work is the first installment of a multimedia opera trilogy. The second opera, "Dennis Cleveland," was presented here last year. A question-and-answer session with the composer will follow the Friday performance. The program is presented by the Philharmonic Society as part of its Eclectic Orange Festival.
* "Failing Kansas," Founders Hall, Orange County Performing Arts Center, 600 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa. 8 p.m. Also Saturday, 8 p.m. $18. (714) 556-2787.
The Francisco Martinez Dancetheatre will mark its 19th season with Martinez's new "Naechtliche Taenze," a suite of dances to German cabaret music of the 1930s. The program also will include "Variables," to Milhaud's "La Creation du Monde" and "Miniatures," to a score commissioned from Ed Barguiarena.
* Francisco Martinez Dancetheatre, Gem Theater, 12852 Main St., Garden Grove. 8 p.m. Also Saturday, 8 p.m.; Sunday, 3 p.m. $16.50 to $18.50. (714) 741-9555.
San Diego roots-rock group The Paladins has been playing rockabilly for nearly 20 years, nearly as long as rockabilly had been out of fashion when the Paladins and a score of other history-minded rock fans started reviving it in Southland clubs. The tirelessly touring threesome, led by guitarist-singer Dave Gonzales and with founding bassist Thomas Yearsley back in the fold along with longtime Paladins drummer Brian Fahey, return to Orange County for a sure-to-be-hopping show in Fountain Valley.
* The Paladins, Abilene Rose, Abilene Rose, 10830 Warner Ave., Fountain Valley. 9 p.m. $10. (714) 963-1700.