Dennis Cooper is the most harrowing living novelist writing in English. His novels like My Loose Thread are a horror show of intermingled sex and violence. Their viscera are repulsive but their visceral understanding of the basic human enigma—why do people do fucked-up things to each other?—makes them fascinating. Cooper has teamed up with French director Gisèle Vienne to stage Jerk, a solo puppet show based on the true story of serial killer Dean Corll, who slaughtered over 20 boys in Texas in the 1970s. (On the Boards, 100 W Roy St, 217-9888. 8 pm, $24. Through Nov 9.)

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