With origins as enigmatic as its costumes, the tradition of mumming plays stretches back at least as far as the Middle Ages. The plays, presented for the most part around Christmastime in Ireland and England, may have originally involved bands of traveling actors performing resurrection-themed dance dramas door to door. Such folklore inspired Gateway Performance Productions' artistic director Sandra Lee Hughes to create THE MUMMERS DREAM (right), a motley production with masks and costumes by Michael Hickey at the Mask Center on Fri.-Sat., DEC. 22-23. The swooshing broomlike costumes and storied history should provide adequate respite from a Nutcracker-saturated theater season. $10. 8 p.m. Little Five Points Community Center, 1083 Austin Ave. 404-982-9922. www.masktheatre.org.