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Oct 042015
 

Arts Fuse critics select the best in film, theater, dance, music, visual arts, and author events for the coming week.

By The Arts Fuse Staff

Film

Boston Area Film Schedules — What is playing today, Where and When

A scene from "The Devil, Probably," which is screening at the Harvard Archive this week.

A scene from Robert Bresson’s film “The Devil, Probably,” which is screening at the Harvard Archive this week.

The Devil, Probably (Le diable probablement)
October 5 at 7 p.m.
Harvard Film Archive, Cambridge, MA

According to critic J. Hoberman: “One of the great Robert Bresson’s greatest, and least-seen, movies .. a drama of faith so formally rigorous and uncompromising as to border on the absurd — a Dostoyevskian story of a tormented soul presented in the stylized manner of a medieval illumination. At once chic and austere, The Devil, Probably is a generic youth movie set in a Parisian student milieu where long-haired panhandlers play their bongos by the Seine while sinister nihilists mock religion by planting pornographic photos in church documents.”.The narrative unfolds in flashback as it details the events leading up to the demise of its androgynous protagonist Charles, played by Antoine Monnier, a non-actor and the great-grandson of Henri Matisse.

She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry
October 6
Bright Family Screening Room, The Paramount Center 559 Washington Street, Boston, MA

Here’s a warm-up — via flash forward — to the soon-to-released Carey Mulligan, Helena Bonham Carter, Meryl Streep film Suffragette. This documentary resurrects the buried history of the outrageous, often brilliant women who from from 1966 to 1971 founded the modern women’s movement, from the founding of NOW to the emergence of more radical factions of women’s liberation. It features intellectuals like Kate Millett and the street theatrics of W.I.T.C.H. (Women’s International Conspiracy from Hell!) with dramatizations, performances, and archival imagery. Post-film discussion led by members of the organization Our Bodies, Ourselves. Co-sponsored by IFFBoston

Museum Hours
October 8 at 7:30 p.m.
October 10 at 12:30
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA

Bobby, a middle-aged museum guard at the Kunsthistorisches Art Museum of Vienna, is fascinated by the visitors and the art: he is particularly passionate about the Bruegel room. He meets a twenty-something Canadian woman and they have a series platonic meetings and conversations around the city talking about art and city life. This seemingly simple premise connects life and aesthetics, the city and time, across the centuries in an ineffable and transcendent way: a remarkable, one-of-a-kind film by Jem Cohen. Arts Fuse review.

The Boston Globe Docs Film Festival
October 8-12
Various Venues in and around Boston
A complete schedule of the offerings.

Three recommendations:

Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead: The Story Of The National Lampoon
Thursday, October 8, 7 p.m. at the Kendall Square Cinema in Cambridge
Candid interviews with key staff and outrageous images from the magazine provide a unique look inside this famed and influential magazines founded by two former Harvard students. Directed by Douglas Tirola.

The Armor of Light
Friday, October 9, 8 p.m. at the Bright Family Screening Room at the Paramount Theater, Boston, MA
This is a timely film given the latest horrific mass shooting in Oregon. Producer Abigail Disney’s first directorial effort profiles the alliance between Evangelical minister Rob Schenck and Lucy McBath, mother of an unarmed teenage shooting victim. The goal is to explore America’s gun culture through a moral lens. Co-presented with Globe Docs and The DocYard

Containment
October 10 at 4:30 p.m. at the Bright Family Screening Room, Boston, MA
This documentary grapples with the long trail of waste produced by nuclear power. Boston filmmakers Peter Galison and Robb Moss look at this pressing issue with an eye on the future as well as the present.

Broadway actress Elaine Stritch -- subject of a documentary that will be screened this week.

Broadway actress Elaine Stritch — subject of a documentary that will be screened at Boston University this week.

Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me
October 9 at 6 p.m.
B.U. College of Communication, Room 101, 640 Commonwealth Ave, Boston, MA

Gerald Peary’s Cinemateque Series presents producer and BU film grad Chiemi Karasawa and the colorful documentary she directed. Stritch, who passed away in 2014, was a legendary Broadway star. The film catches the performer’s vulgar energy, which  the camera’s fixation on her combustible presence only encourages.The film looks back on Stritch’s decades in show biz, including her struggle with alcoholism. This is a moving and highly entertaining study of a distinctive star of the theater. The director leads a discussion following the film. Free and open to the public

– Tim Jackson


Dance

José Mateo Ballet Theatre's "Rumblings "celebrates the suspense of Halloween.

José Mateo Ballet Theatre’s “Rumblings” celebrates the spirit of Halloween.

Rumblings
October 9-25
Sanctuary Theatre
Cambridge, MA

José Mateo Ballet Theatre celebrates the opening of its 30th Anniversary Season with Rumblings, an evening of three suspenseful works that aim to entice audiences into the Halloween spirit.

Boston Dance Festival – Nrityotsav 2015
October 10 from 9:30 a.m.to 9 pm.
The Casey Theater, Regis College
Weston, MA

Venture to Regis College this weekend for a full day of classical Indian dance, celebrated through dance competitions and performances that honor its various styles of movement. Companies have traveled from across the U.S. and India to participate, with a special finale performance of Don Quixote that hails from Chennai, India.

Bolshoi Ballet's "Giselle" will be viewable in theaters across the country on Sunday, October 11.

Bolshoi Ballet’s “Giselle” will be viewable in theaters across the country on Sunday, October 11.

Giselle
Sunday, October 11 at 12:55 p.m.
Varying locations across the U.S.

The world-renowned Bolshoi Ballet kicks off its 2015-16 season in cinema with a performance of the classic Giselle. This heart-wrenching production, along with behind-the-scenes interviews with the cast, will be viewable in participating theaters across the country.  To view a full list of participating venues, visit here

And further afield…

Rakugo: Comical Tales from Japan
October 7 at 7:30 p.m.
Bowker Auditorium, UMass Amherst
Amherst, MA

A mixture of performance and traditional Japanese storytelling, Rakugo features legendary female artists Motoko (storyteller) and Masayo Ishigure (musician on koto and shamisen).

– Merli V. Guerra


Visual Art

Leap Before You Look: Black Mountain College 1933 – 1957
October 10 – January 24, 2016
Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, MA

Black Mountain College was a small, experimental liberal arts school established during the Great Depression in the Appalachian town of Black Mountain, North Carolina. It lasted little more than a generation before it was overwhelmed by debt. Yet the college has monumental status as a nexus of 20th-century culture. With a radical curriculum that emphasized the arts as the key to learning, the school’s students and faculty including a long list of artists, poets, modern dancers, musicians, and visionaries whose collective influence was to be enormous: John Cage, Robert Rauschenberg, Cy Twombly, Merce Cunningham, Buckminster Fuller, Willem and Elaine de Kooning, and Robert Creeley, among many others. In many ways, modern American art became American and modern at Black Mountain College.

Although it has long had an important chapter in art history, remarkably, Black Mountain College has not been the focus of an American art museum exhibition until now. Including the work of ninety artists, archival materials, and performances, the ICA’s show, therefore, promises to be a revelation of an intensely creative time and place.

Yang Yongliang. Born in Shanghai, China, 1980. Lives and works in Shanghai. From the New World. 2014. Epson ultragiclee print on Epson fine art paper. Courtesy of Yang Yongliang Studio. ©2015 Yang Yongliang.

Yang Yongliang. From the New World. 2014. Photo: Yang Yongliang Studio.

Dislocation/Urban Experience: Contemporary Photographs from East Asia
October 9 – January 31, 2016
Smith College Museum of Art, Northhampton, MA

The vast megalopolises of East Asia, with their tens of millions of inhabitants, dwarf any human habitation previously known on planet earth. Powerful magnets drawing up to half the total population of their home nations, these vast, glittering, exponentially growing cites are also centers of dislocation, congestion, pollution, alienation, and extremes of wealth and poverty. This exhibition includes arresting contemporary urban images from Japan, China, and Korea and documents a phenomenon that may well become the future of mankind.

Sizing it Up: Scale in Nature and Art
October 10 – September 18, 2016
Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, MA

A reminder of the Peabody Essex Museum’s earlier incarnation as a Natural History Museum, PEM’s Art and Nature Center is dedicated to exploring the relationships between nature, art, and human beings. Sizing it Up, a year-long exhibition at the Center, looks at universe-wide concepts of scale, from nano to galactic. It’s range encompasses sculpture, photographs, and installations from PEM’s own collections or on loan and features the work of some thirty artists.

Acetate record containing Ezra Pound reading Sestina: Altaforte May 17, 1939. Courtesy the Woodberry Poetry Room, Harvard University.

Acetate record containing Ezra Pound reading Sestina: Altaforte May 17, 1939. Courtesy the Woodberry Poetry Room, Harvard University.

Damon Krukowski: NOT TO BE PLAYED
October 8 – 25
Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts, Cambridge, MA

In 1939, the celebrated poet Ezra Pound made an audio recording at Harvard University that he believed could incite violence and have a persuasive influence on the future. Several years later, he wrote a letter saying it was “not to be played.” Transferred from the original lacquer disc to magnetic tape, cassette, and, finally, to a digital file in Har-vard’s Woodbury Poetry Room, the recoding is the focus of Damon Krukowski’s exhibition, talk, and performance at Harvard Carpenter Center over two weeks in mid-October. The project is also the start of The Woodbury Sessions, an on-going series of collaborations between the Carpenter and the Poetry Room, which will use Harvard’s rich store of archival materials as a source for the work and observations of visiting contemporary artists.

Maxfield Parrish: The Power of the Print
October 9 – January 31, 2016
Currier Museum of Art, Manchester, NH

The immensely popular illustrator and designer Mayfield Parrish (1870-1966) lived for most of his long life and career in New Hampshire’s Cornish Art Colony along the Connecticut River, also a retreat over the years for sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens, President Woodrow Wilson, author J.D. Salinger, and the distinguished jurist Learned Hand, among many other luminaries. Parrish’s brilliant-hued canvases, showing a dream-like world populated by beautiful girls or characters from nursery rhymes and children’s tales, earned him a fortune and great fame when translated by new color printing techniques and reproduced as advertisements, magazine covers, calendars, and posters. The Currier exhibition features a large group of vintage prints originally made for mass-produced calendars along with three original Parrish oil paintings.

– Peter Walsh


Jazz

Clear Audience
October 4, 7 p.m.
Lily Pad, Cambridge, MA.

The quartet Clear Audience took seven years off between their debut, In All Are An Up For It, and this year’s Medicine Ball, but their rigorous approach to ensemble adventure remains undiminished, bending and manipulating conventional forms and rhythms, from rockist thump to fast jazz swing. The players are saxophonist Andy Voelker, bassist Jef Charland, drummer Luther Gray, and guitarist Steve Fell, who is also credited with electronics as well as much of the writing.

Fully Celebrate Orchestra
October 6, 10:30 p.m.
Lily Pad, Cambridge, MA.

The Fully Celebrated Orchestra was an uncompromising mainstay of the ’90s scene, with their folkloric grooves and free-form explorations. Alto saxophonist Jim Hobbs and bassist Timo Shanko reconvene, with Luther Gray in for Django Carranza.

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Grand Fatilla
October 7, 7:30 p.m.
Regattabar, Cambridge, MA.

Splitting the difference between world music and jazz, the quartet Grand Fatilla plays a stunning, authoritative mix of Italian folk, North African-Arabic, Argentine tango, Turkish sufi music, and other international styles. The deeply schooled and skilled players are bassist Mike Rivard, electric mandolinist Matt Glover, accordionist Roberto Cassan and percussionist/singer Fabio Pirozzolo. Their debut CD, 2014’s Global Shuffle, was one of the most flat-out enjoyable discs of that year in any genre. For this show, Boston-based Finnish guitarist and oud player Jussi
Reijonen joins the band.

Latin-Brazilian Jazz Jam
October 7, 9 p.m.
Ryles Jazz Club, Cambridge, MA.

This has the makings of a good scene: house band Samba de Três — with pianist Alexei Tsiganov, bassist Ebinho Cardoso, and drummer Renato Malavasi — host a monthly jam. These guys, and series producer Anita Coelho, are deeply plugged into the local Brazilian scene, so expect a few ringers to stop by.

Either/Orchestra
October 8, 7:30 p.m.
Regattabar, Cambridge, MA.

The 10-piece Either/Orchestra’s original arrangements and compositions have earned them a Grammy nomination (“Bennie Moten’s Weird Nightmare,” mashing up Moten and Mingus), taken them to Ethiopia for deep explorations of the “Ethio-jazz” of Mulatu Astatke, and won them a loyal following at home. And, oh yeah, they have a nice book of original Afro-Latin stuff too, anchored by the great conguero Vicente Lebron.

The Aardvark Jazz Orchestra, led by Mark Harvey. Photo PRLOG:

The Aardvark Jazz Orchestra, led by Mark Harvey. Photo: PRLOG.

Aardvark Jazz Orchestra
October 8, 8 p.m.
Scullers Jazz Club, Boston, MA.

The outstanding progressive big band the Aardvark Jazz Orchestra opens its 43rd season focusing on the release of Deep River, a new CD featuring the compositions of its longtime guitarist, Richard Nelson. Also on the bill are bandleader Mark Harvey’s “NOLA” and Duke Ellington’s “Second Line,” from The New Orleans Suite, both commemorating the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. And as a lagniappe, Harvey’s arrangement of “Chelsea Bridge,” a centennial birthday tribute to Billy Strayhorn.

Jacqui Naylor Quartet
October 13, 7:30 p.m.
Regattabar, Boston, MA.

San Francisco vocalist Jacqui Naylor combines the approaches of singer-songwriter and jazz singer, with a mix of jazz standards, originals, and jazz arrangements of modern pop, from “Skylark” to a bossa-inflected take on R.E.M.’s “Losing My Religion.” (Her latest CD is Dead Divas Society.) She also has an appealing, smoky, broad-ranged voice. Her band includes Art Khu on piano and guitar, bassist Jon Evans, and drummer Matthias Bossi.

Derrick Hodge
October 14, 7:30 p.m.
Regattabar, Cambridge, MA.

Growing up in a New Jersey suburb of Philadelphia, bassist Derrick Hodge gigged with the likes of Jill Scott (whom he later toured with) and trumpeter Terrell Stafford. His deep-groove virtuoso bass playing (he generally resists the temptation to play too many notes) has been the anchor of the Robert Glasper Experiment, and he released his own Live Today in 2013.

Chiara

Singer Chiara Civello will perform at Scullers Jazz Club this week. Photo: courtesy of the artist.

Chiara Civello
October 14, 8 p.m.
Scullers Jazz Club, Boston, MA.

Back in her Berklee days, Chiara Civello was a rising star with versatile technique, multi-lingual fluency, and a knack for pan-American jazz and pop, singing in bands like Mango Blue. Now she returns singing from her fifth solo album, Canzoni (Quarter Moon/Sony), a collection drawn from “the cotemporary Italian songbook.”

– Jon Garelick


Roots and World Music

The Coachmen
Oct. 4
Midway Cafe, Jamaica Plain, MA

If you were seeing roots music in Boston a decade or so ago you likely spent some fine nights with the Coachmen, the western swing trio made up of Roy Sludge, Jerry Miller, and Johnny Sciascia. In recent years Sludge has been fronting his own trio, while Miller and Sciascia have been touring the country with Eilen Jewell. But they’re getting back together for a night at one of Boston’s last dive bars.

The Zombies
Oct. 6
The Wilbur, Boston, MA

The masters of pop psychedelia return with a new album, Still Got That Hunger and a performance of the complete Odyssey and Oracle LP. The Arts Fuse interviewed keyboardist and songwriter Rod Argent.

– Noah Schaffer


Classical Music

La Bohème
Presented by Boston Lyric Opera
Through October 11, 7:30 p.m. (3 p.m. on October 11)
Shubert Theater, Boston, MA

BLO opens its season with Puccini’s popular melodrama in a new production that updates its action to the 1968 Paris student revolution. Kelly Kaduce sings Mimi and Jesus Garcia is Rodolfo; David Angus conducts.

Lars Vogt plays Beethoven
Presented by the Boston Symphony Orchestra
October 10-12, 8 p.m. (1:30 p.m. on Friday)
Symphony Hall, Boston, MA

Pianist Vogt steps in for the indisposed Paul Lewis, performing Beethoven’s C minor Piano Concerto. Also on tap is Brahms’ Symphony no. 2 and the Boston premiere of Sebastian Currier’s World War 1 memorial, Divisions. BSO music director Andris Nelsons conducts.

Boston Conservatory New Music Ensemble
Presented by the Boston Conservatory
October 9, 8 p.m.
132 Ipswich Street, Boston< MA

Eric Hewitt leads a wide-ranging program made up of Anton Webern’s arrangement of Schoenberg’s Chamber Symphony no. 1, Giacinto Scelsi’s Yamaon, Iannis Xenakis’ Phlegra, and Thomas Adés’ Life Story.

– Jonathan Blumhofer

First Monday at Jordan Hall
October 5 at 7:30
NEC’s Jordan Hall, Boston, MA

On the program: Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto no 4 in G major, BWV 1049; Brahms’s Liebeslieder Waltzes (18), Op. 52; Sibelius’s Quartet for Strings in D minor, Op. 56, Voces intimae.

The Gramercy Trio will perform this week. Photo: courtesy of the artist.

The Gramercy Trio will perform this week at the Community Music Center of Boston. Photo: courtesy of the artist.

Gramercy Trio
October 8 at 7 p.m.
Community Music Center of Boston/Allen Hall at 34 Warren Avenue, Boston, MA

On the program: Beethoven’s Piano Trios 1, 2 and 3.

Les musiciens du Roi Soleil
October 9 at 7:30 p.m.
In the Gordon Chapel at the Old South Church Boston, MA

Les Bostonades, with special guest Zachary Wilder, present a program featuring the music of Hotteterre, Rameau, and Marias.

Faculty Chamber Music
October 9 at 8 p.m.
At Boston Conservatory, Seully Hall, 8 The Fenway, Boston, MA

On the program: Andy Vores’ Nightlife; Ives’ Piano Trio; Brahms’ Clarinet Trio.

Cantata Singers — Choral Classics with with Joseph Flummerfelt
October 10 at 8 p.m.
At NEC’s Jordan Hall, Boston, MA

“Hear choral favorites such as Brahms’ enchanting Liebeslieder Waltzes and Copland’s stirring The Promise of Living alongside diverse works by Verdi, Barber, Britten, Duruflé, Stravinsky, Victoria, Casals, Maxwell Davies, and Fine.”

Chameleon Arts Ensemble
October 10 at 8 p.m.
October 11 at 4 p.m.
First Church in Boston, 66 Marlborough Street, Boston, MA

On the program, which is entitled “echoes of celestial song”: Camille Saint-Saëns’ Sonata in D Major for oboe & piano, Op. 166; Igor Stravinsky’s Duo Concertant for violin & piano; Elliott Carter’s Sonata for flute, oboe, cello & harpsichord (1952); Per Nørgård’s The Well-Tempered Percussionist; Dmitri Shostakovich’s Piano Quintet in g minor, Op. 57.

Boston Cello Quartet
October 11 at 8 p.m.
NEC’s Jordan Hall, 290 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA

The ensemble presents “The Latin Project,” a musical journey from Spain to South America.

– Susan Miron


Theater

Jennifer Ellis and Christopher Chew in the Lyric Stage Company production of "My Fair Lady." Photo: Mark S. Howard.

Jennifer Ellis and Christopher Chew in the Lyric Stage Company production of “My Fair Lady.” Photo: Mark S. Howard.

My Fair Lady Book and lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner. Music by Frederick Loewe Adapted from George Bernard Shaw’s play and Gabriel Pascal’s motion picture Pygmalion. Directed by Scott Edmiston. Musical Director, Catherine Stornetta. Choreographer, David Connolly, Presented by the Lyric Stage at 140 Clarendon Street, Copley Square, Boston, MA, through October 11.

What looks to be a powerhouse production of the classic musical adaptation of GBS’s tragicomedy, featuring Jennifer Ellis as Eliza Doolittle and Christopher Chew as Henry Higgins. Arts Fuse review.

appropriate by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins. Directed by M. Bevin O’Gara. Staged by SpeakEasy Stage Company at the Boston Center for the Arts, through October 10.

The Obie Award-winning play “offers his own subversive take on a classic American genre for a bold new look at race and identity.” Arts Fuse review

Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare. Directed Tyler Dobrowsky. Staged by Trinity Repertory Company at the Dowling Theater, Providence, Rhode Island, through October 11.

“Driven and confident, Caesar (played in this production by resident company member Anne Scurria) has just returned from war a hero, only to find a group of close advisors want her dead. In a prescient exploration of the underbelly of political maneuvering, Julius Caesar is an explosion of jealousy, retribution, power and control.” Looks like an updated version that swaps togas for business suits.

A Little Night Music. Music and Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim. Book by Hugh Wheeler. Directed by Peter DuBois. Staged by the Huntington Theatre Company at the Boston University Theater, 264 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA, through October 11.

“Lovers reunite, passions reignite, and new romances blossom around famous actress Desiree Armfeldt and an unforgettable cast of characters during an eventful weekend in the country. Stephen Sondheim’s most romantic and popular work features a gorgeous, sweeping score infused with humor, warmth, and the flavor of a waltz, including Sondheim’s best known song, “Send in the Clowns.” Arts Fuse review.

An Opening in Time by Christopher Shinn. Directed by Oliver Butler. At Hartford Stage, Hartford, CT, through October 11.

A play from the talented Shinn, a Pulitzer finalist for Dying City, that is set in Connecticut. (The playwright was born in Hartford.) The script, which the dramatist insists is not autobiographical, deals with “finding connections in a shifting world.”

Photo:

Photo: Shura Baryshnikov in the role of Salomé in the Bridge Repertory Theater’s production of Oscar Wilde’s once scandalous play. Photo: Jake Gunter.

Salomé by Oscar Wilde. Directed by Olivia D’Ambrosia. Staged by Bridge Repertory Theater at the First Church in Boston, Boston, MA, through October 18.

According to director D’Ambrosia, Wilde’s version of the Biblical story is “sexy, terrifying, hilarious, and, above all, epic.” And if that is not enough upheaval: she “radicalizes the legend and Oscar Wilde’s play by setting this specific production in the year 1970.” Shura Baryshnikov is cast in the title role.

Mr. Joy by Daniel Beaty. Directed by David Dower. Presented by Arts Emerson in the Jackie Liebergott Black Box, through October 18.

Thou Shalt Be Empowered: “What happened to Mr. Joy? A Harlem community is shaken when Mr. Joy, a Chinese immigrant whose shoe repair shop has been a neighborhood pillar for decades, is the victim of an attack. Playwright and ArtsEmerson Artist-in-Residence Daniel Beaty (Breath & Imagination, Emergency) returns with another moving reflection on transforming pain into power, this time through the virtuosic performance by acclaimed actress Tangela Large.” Arts Fuse review.

Othello by William Shakespeare. Directed by Bridget Kathleen O’Leary. At the Modern Theatre, Suffolk University, Boston, MA, through October 25.

The Bard’s tragedy about the “green-eyed monster” — the cast includes John Kuntz as Iago and Johnnie McQuarley as Othello. Arts Fuse review

Einstein’s Dreams. Alan Lightman’s novel adapted and directed by Wesley Savick. Staged by Underground Railway Theater at the Central Square Theater, Cambridge, MA, through October 24.

“Absurd, comic, and poetic,” this play “captures the poignancy of the human condition. In celebration of the 100th anniversary of Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity, Underground Railway Theater reunites the original 2007 world premiere cast, adapted by director Wesley Savick (Mr g, Car Talk: The Musical!!!). The cast includes Debra Wise, Steven Barkheimer, and Robert Najarian. Arts Fuse review.

Copenhagen by Michael Frayn. Directed by Eric Tucker. Staged by the Nora Theater Company at the Central Square Theater, Cambridge, MA, through November 15.

A revival of Frayn’s challenging exploration of the mysterious connections between ideas and personalities. “Copenhagen, 1941: Two brilliant physicists – fast friends from enemy nations – famously confront each other at the height of WWII. This award-winning psychological mystery unravels what transpired on that fateful night. Werner Heisenberg and his mentor Niels Bohr meet again in the afterlife, goaded by Bohr’s wife, Margrethe. Who will remember the truth that changed the course of history?”

Photo: John Hed.

Michael F. Toomey in “An Iliad.” Photo: John Hed.

An Iliad, an adaptation of Homer’s epic poem (the Robert Fagles translation) by Lisa Peterson and Denis O’Hare. Directed by Jonathan Epstein. Staged by Shakespeare and Company in the Elayne P. Bernstein Theatre, Lenox, MA, through November 1.

“A modern-day retelling of Homer’s tale of gods and goddesses, undying love and endless battles, the narrative is told through the eyes of a single narrator (Michael F. Toomey), whose gripping monologue captures both the heroism and horror of war. Crafted around the stories of Achilles and Hector, this powerful piece vividly drives home the timelessness of mankind’s compulsion toward violence.” The OBIE-award winning play also features musician Gregory Boover.

Indecent by Paula Vogel. Directed by Rebecca Taichman. A Yale Repertory Theatre co-production with La Jolla Playhouse at the University Theatre, 222 York Street, New Haven, CT, through October 24.

The world premiere of a “play with music …inspired by the true events surrounding the controversial 1923 Broadway debut of Sholem Asch’s The God of Vengeance—a play seen by some as a seminal work of Jewish culture, and by others as an act of traitorous libel.” I have been intrigued by Asch’s play since I reviewed Donald Margulies’s version of the melodrama at the Williamstown Theater Festival in 2002. The script touches on prostitution and lesbianism, and the New York production was greeted by charges of anti-Semitism. The company was arrested and fined. Not sure who finds The God of Vengeance to be a “seminal work of Jewish culture,” but it certainly made a splash.

An Evening with M

A glimpse of “An Audience with Meow Meow.” Photo: courtesy of the artist.

An Audience with Meow Meow, created by and starring Meow Meow. Directed byLeigh Silverman. Choreography by Sonya Tayeh. Presented by True Friends Productions at the Emerson/Cutler Majestic Theatre, Boston, MA, October 8 through 24.

“Beloved by everyone from David Bowie to Amanda Palmer, Meow Meow is the Mother Courage of performance, the Queen of Kamikaze Cabaret, and the Weimar-style camp-cum-comedian who is about to take Boston by storm!”

Polish Joke by David Ives. Directed by Sarah Gazdowicz. Staged by the Titanic Theatre Company at the Central Square Theater, Cambridge, MA, October 8 to 18.

A New England premiere of a 2003 Ives script that offers “a comic and poignant send-up of identity, ethnic stereotypes, and the eternal American search for ‘roots.’ Described by Ives as his most shamelessly autobiographical work, the play follows Jasiu, a Polish-American, as he struggles to rise above the perceived limitations of his ancestry by reinventing himself, trying on different names and national origins in a series of hilarious, sometimes surreal encounters. ”

I and You by Lauren Gunderson. Directed by Sean Daniels. Presented by Merrimack Repertory Theatre at the Nancy L. Donahue Theatre, 50 East Merrimack Street, Lowell, MA, October 7 through November 1.

This New York-bound (for off-Broadway) production “tells the story of two very different teenagers, Caroline and Anthony, who struggle to connect as they work on a school project about Walt Whitman’s poetry. Over the course of the play and through a stunning surprise ending, they find that there is more that unites them than divides them. This production marks the New England premiere of the play that won the 2014 Steinberg/American Theatre Critics Association New Play Award, which recognizes new work produced outside of New York.”

A Number by Caryl Churchill. Directed by Clay Hopper. Staged by the New Repertory Theatre in the Charles Mosesian Theater at the Arsenal Center for the Arts in Watertown, MA, October 10 through November 1

Nael Nacer and Dale Place are featured in a production of Churchill’s two-person play about the emotional and metaphysical fallout of cloning: “In this stark and startling drama, a son confronts his emotionally distant father, learning a horrifying truth about his past. As anger and abandonment issues emerge, a mystery is exposed, revealing a disturbing incident involving a number of ‘others.’”

Bertold Brecht and Hans Eisler.

Bertolt Brecht and Hans Eisler — comrades in political and artistic arms.

Ask Me More About Brecht: A Theatrical Reconstruction of Conversations Between Hanns Eisler and Hans Bunge. Translated and Performed by Sabine Berendse and Paul Clements. At the Pardee School of Global Studies, Boston University, 121 Bay State Road, on October 7 at 7 p.m.

This is a time when the theater, drifting into terminal musical escapism, could use as much Brechtian kick as possible. So any attempt to get the word out about the value of this giant of 20th century stage/poetry is admirable. “In this multi-media show the audience is taken back to the East Berlin of 1958, when Hans Bunge began the first of his fourteen recorded interviews about his friend Bertolt Brecht with the courageous and committed left-wing composer, Hanns Eisler, who had worked with the playwright/poet for years …The performance includes eight recordings of Eisler’s music in different genres and four are of Eisler singing and accompanying himself at the piano. Rarely seen photographic images of Eisler and others illustrate the show.”

– Bill Marx


Author Events

The-Only-Woman-in-the-Room

Eileen Pollack
The Only Woman in the Room: Why Science is Still A Boys’ Club
October 5 at 7 p.m.
Harvard Book Store, Cambridge MA
Free

In 2005, then-Harvard President Lawrence Summers posed a decidedly smarmy question: why do so few women receive tenure in the hard sciences? Pollack, a successful fiction writer, decided to find out the answer. She spent six years interviewing her former teachers and classmates and wrote up a no-holds-barred, honest assessment of the way women are treated in the halls of scientific academia.

Elizabeth Benedict
In Conversation with Elizabeth Searle, Rebecca Goldstein, and Hallie Ephron
Me, My Hair, and I: Twenty Seven Women Untangle an Obsession
October 5 at 7 p.m.
Porter Square Books, Cambridge MA
Free

Twenty seven women writers, from all walks of life, contribute their insights on the role that their hair plays in their life. Far from being superficial, the follicle issues that arise for many women go decidedly beyond the mere cosmetic, involving changing social standards of “beauty” particularly as applied to race, class and age.

Sven Birkerts
Changing the Subject: Art and Attention in the Internet Age
October 7 at 7 p.m.
Harvard Book Store, Cambridge MA
Free

Ever since 1994′s moving The Gutenberg Elegies, Birkerts has been a scribe on a mission to reclaim the values of deep reading in a time of instant gratification and media saturation. The editor of AGNI comes to Cambridge to read and sign copies of his latest work, arguing that “an unprecedented shift is underway” in the way that we understand and relate to the world around us, and suggests that a renewed engagement with art may be a way to learn to pay attention to the world around us.

Jason Segel
In Conversation with Karen Sama
Nightmares! The Sleepwalker Tonic
October 7 at 7 p.m. (Doors open at 6:30)
Old South Church, Boston MA
Tickets are $20, with admission and copy of book, $5 kids tickets

The multitalented actor, writer, and children’s book author comes to Cambridge to read and discuss the sequel to his middle-school book Nightmares! He will discuss the story’s development with 826 Boston’s Karen Sama.

Shelley Rice: Local Space/ Global Visions
October 7 from 6:30- 8:30 p.m.
Collins Cinema, Wellesley College, Wellesley MA
Free

The NYU professor comes to Wellesley to discuss the “visual geography” of 1900. The idea might sound antiquated, but Rice suggests otherwise. In fact, 1900 was a watershed moment in modern media — the birth of true auteurism and a world culture of images.

Patti Smith --

Rocker Patti Smith — will read from “M Train” at Back Bay Events Center this week.

Patti Smith
M Train
October 10 at 7 p.m. (Doors open at 6:30)
Back Bay Events Center, Boston MA
Tickets are $30, including a copy of the book

After the phenomenal success of Just Kids, the inspiring tale of Smith’s early bohemian life in New York City, there was no doubt the reading public needed more. Smith’s second volume continues her poetic ruminations on her pioneering career, including tributes to her cultural heroes and the places which have inspired her throughout her celebrated life and work.

– Matt Hanson

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