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Feb 292016
 

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


Classical Music

Dunya and American Repertory Theatre present Othello in the Seraglio: The Tragedy of Sümbül the Black Eunuch
Tuesday, March 1 and Wednesday, March 2 at 7:30 p.m.
Oberon, 2 Arrow Street, Cambridge, MA

This “coffeehouse opera” tells an age-old story of passionate love and murderous jealousy. The score by Boston composer and Grammy nominee Mehmet Ali Sanlikol—performed on European period instruments and traditional Turkish instruments by an ensemble of 12 instrumentalists, singers and a dramatic storyteller—weaves together Italian Baroque and Turkish sources with his own newly-composed music into a tapestry of uncanny beauty.

Sergey Schepkin, piano
Friday, March 4 at 8 p.m.
New School of Music, 25 Lowell Street, Cambridge, MA

The Russian-born Bach specialist presents a concert pairing of works by the Leipzig master along with music of Scriabin and Rachmaninoff.

Chameleon Arts Ensemble’s Up Close Recital Series presents music for clarinets and piano
Sunday, March 6 at 4 p.m.
Goethe-Institut, 170 Beacon Street, Boston, MA

Clarinetists Gary Gorczyca and Kelli O’Connor and pianist Vivian Choi perform Mendelssohn’s Konzertstück No. 2 for clarinet, basset horn & piano, Op. 114, Saint-Saëns’s Sonata in E-Flat Major, Op. 167, Poulenc’s Sonata for two clarinets, Gary Kulesha’s Mysterium Coniunctionis for clarinet, bass clarinet & piano, and Brahms’s Sonata in E-Flat Major, Op. 120, No. 2.

Celebrity Series of Boston presents Itzhak Perlman In the Fiddler’s House.
Sunday, March 6 at 7 p.m.
Symphony Hall, 301 Massachusetts Avenue, Boston, MA

Joined by music director Hankus Netsky (saxophone and piano), Andy Statman (clarinet and mandolin), members of the Brave Old World and Klezmer Conservatory Band, and other special guests, Perlman revisits his stunningly successful and beloved klezmer recording and PBS special on the occasion of its 20th anniversary.

– Susan Miron


Rock, Pop, and Folk

Neko Case

Neko Case. Photo by Emily Shur.

Neko Case with The Felice Brothers
Wednesday, March 2 at 8 p.m.; doors open at 7 p.m.
House of Blues (moved from Orpheum Theatre), Boston, MA

Bandleader, solo artist, member of The New Pornographers, and sometimes “Wait Wait … Don’t Tell Me!” panelist Neko Case will set up shop at the House of Blues on Wednesday. Blessed with a phenomenally rich voice, Case is one of the few artists in popular music who is consistently good while demonstrating noticeable growth with each release. In fact, if one’s record collection is sadly Neko-less, then he or she would be well advised to grab the box set Truckdriver Gladiator Mule, a vinyl collection of all of her solo material since her 1997 debut. Pricey, yes, but worth it.

Deep Sea Diver

Deep Sea Diver

Radiation City and Deep Sea Diver with Abadabad
Friday, March 4; doors open at 10 p.m.
Great Scott, Allston, MA

This will be a great show. Based on the difference between the two main bands’ sounds, however, attendees will probably not respond to both with equal enthusiasm. The new album by Portland’s Radiation City, Synesthetica, is pleasant enough (“Futures” get stuck in my head for hours every time that I hear it), but not beginning-to-end great. Then there is Secrets, the latest by Seattle’s Deep Sea Diver, which is led by singer and multi-instrumentalist Jessica Dobson. As enjoyable as Synesthetica may be, Secrets is a powerhouse of an album that is likely to be remembered as one of the better releases of 2016. Radiation City gets the headlining spot at Great Scott on Friday because they have been around longer and are probably a bigger draw. Deep Sea Diver, however, is sure to make many converts and totally clean up at the merch table.

Adult Books with Blinders, Spirit Ghost, and Rye Pines
Monday, March 7; doors open at 8 p.m.
Obrien’s Pub, Allston, MA

As much as I try to keep up, I definitely miss what I would surely think were great albums if I heard them. Thankfully, I have heard Running from the Blows by Adult Books. Like Deep Sea Diver’s Secrets, it is the kind of record that I am grateful still gets made every now and then. Adult Books may not be 100% original, but when a band’s ingredients include the proper doses of punk, post-punk, and new wave, there are no grounds for complaint about the final product. Adult Books is a really good band, and all who see them at Obrien’s Pub next Monday will be delighted with themselves for having done so.

Rickie Lee Jones

Rickie Lee Jones. Photo by David McClister.

Rickie Lee Jones
Tuesday, March 8 at 8:30 p.m.; doors open at 5:30 p.m.
Johnny D’s, Somerville, MA

Unfortunately — but not surprisingly  – this show is sold out. One saving grace: the presence of the forever uber-cool singer-songwriter Rickie Lee Jones guarantees a certain vibe wherever she is present. Therefore, if you do not have a ticket to the show but are planning an evening out next Tuesday, consider Davis Square as your destination. Hang out on Holland Street, chat with the lucky ticketholders on the sidewalk, and gaze in through the windows for a spell. After all, Jones does not come around often, and Johnny D’s will soon be gone forever.

Upcoming and on sale:

Air Traffic Controller (March 12, The Sinclair); Winterpills (March 13, Great Scott); Tal Wilkenfeld (March 18, Brighton Music Hall); Young Fathers (April 1, Great Scott); Yuck (April 11, The Sinclair); Iggy Pop (April 11, Orpheum Theatre); Buddy Guy (April 14, The Cabot); Belinda Carlisle (April 15, The Cabot); Parquet Courts (April 15, Paradise Rock Club); Loudon Wainwright III (April 22, Me & Thee Coffeehouse); The Thermals (April 25, The Sinclair); Bob Mould with Ted Leo (May 1, Paradise Rock Club);The Brian Jonestown Massacre (May 7, Paradise Rock Club); Wild Nothing (May 9, The Sinclair,); King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard (May 13, The Sinclair); Nada Surf (June 4, Paradise Rock Club); Diiv (June 7, The Sinclair); Modern English (June 7, Middle East Downstairs); Dungen (June 16, The Sinclair); Bryan Ferry (July 31, Blue Hills Bank Pavilion)

– Blake Maddux


Film

Boston Area Film Schedules—What is Playing Today, Where, and When

Nina Simone

Nina Simone

The Amazing Nina Simone
Thursday, March 1 at 7 p.m.
Bright Family Screening Room, The Paramount Center, 559 Washington Street, Boston, MA

Jeff Lieberman will appear with his film on singer Nina Simone, who was both loved and feared throughout the 1960s for her outspoken vision of ‘Black Freedom.’ President Barack Obama listed “Sinnerman” in his top 5 favorite songs. Nina’s music continues to empower people around the world with its unrelenting appeal for justice. The Amazing Nina Simone reveals the person behind the performer through over 50 intimate and exclusive interviews with those who best knew the artistry and intentions of one of America’s genuine musical geniuses.

Motorhead's Lemmy Kilmister

Motorhead’s Lemmy Kilmister

Lemmy – The Movie!
Thursday, March 3 at 7:30 p.m. and Friday, March 4 at 9:30 p.m.
Regent Theater, 7 Medford Street, Arlington, MA

The film celebrates the life and rock ‘n’ roll philosophy of Motorhead frontman and bassist Lemmy Kilmister, who passed away last December just after his 70th birthday. he died shortly after learning he had been diagnosed with cancer. Born Christmas Eve in Stoke and schooled in part on Anglesey, UK, Ian Fraser Willis acquired the name ‘Lemmy’ while serving as a roadie for Jimi Hendrix when he hit London in 1967. He became the bass player in Hawkwind before forming the metal trio Motorhead in the mid-70s, which blended punk and primal rock. They had huge hits with the album Ace of Spades and the live album No Sleep Til Hammersmith. Still touring, still enjoying the rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle, still inspired by Little Richard and the Beatles, Lemmy remains the ultimate unredeemed and unrepentant rocker.

Black Men Dream 
Thursday, March 3 at 5 p.m.
Brattle Theater, Cambridge, MA

The film is one of many events of Black Lives Through the Arts, presented by the Women Take the Reel Festival from 4 to 9:30 p.m. The film is a 45-minute experimental documentary that creates a virtual “safe space” through hashtagging, enabling black males to do away with emotional restrictions that customarily accompany talk about race and gender. The entire festival lineup, which includes feminist films in several locations, is linked here. The screening will be introduced by the director, Shikeith, followed by musical performance by Castle of our Skins: Seychelle Dunn (saxophone) and Adrienne Baker (flute). Food and drinks will be available throughout the evening. Free and open to the public. Schedule.

Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars
Friday, March 4 and Sunday, March 6 at 7:30 p.m.
Regent Theater, 7 Medford Street, Arlington, MA

On July 3, 1973, onstage at London’s Hammersmith Odeon, David Bowie said goodbye to the previous 18 months of stardom and insanity with one of the most legendary performances of his career. The event was shot by documentarian D.A. Pennebaker (Monterey Pop). Framed by a smattering of behind-the-scenes footage, the bulk of the film chronicles the concert, which is notable as the final time that Bowie would perform using the Ziggy Stardust persona, an announcement that, at the time, led many fans to mistakenly believe Bowie was retiring altogether.

B-Movie: Lust & Sound in West-Berlin
Sunday, March 6 at 11 a.m.
Coolidge Corner Theater, Brookline, MA

This walled-in city became the creative melting pot for a special kind of sub- and pop culture, attracting ingenious dilettantes and world famous celebrities alike. Before the Iron Curtain fell, artists and communards, squatters and hedonists of all kinds enjoyed Berlin’s unconventional lifestyle. It was not about long-term commercial success, but about living for the moment—the kick—the here and now.

With mostly unreleased TV and film footage, photos and original interviews, B-Movie tells the story of life in the divided city, a cultural interzone in which everything and anything seemed possible in a place unlike anywhere else in Europe. It’s a fast-paced collage of stories from a frenzied but creative decade, starting with punk and ending with the Love Parade, all from a city where the days are short and the nights are endless. Part of the Goethe Institute German Film Series.

Rock in Reykjavik
Sunday, March 6 at 3 p.m.
Brattle Theater, Cambridge, MA

This documentary explores the expanding rock scene in Iceland and features a variety of performances and interviews with well-known rock stars from 1981-1982. Afterward, Sigtryggur Baldursson, managing director of the Iceland Music Export will have Q&A session to talk more about the film and the current music scene in Iceland. This is part of a 4 day Taste of Iceland in Boston (March 4-7) that celebrates various aspects of Icelandic culture. The screening a free of charge! Here is a trailer showing a very young Bjork.

– Tim Jackson

One of the posters for "Moon of Israel."

One of the posters for “Moon of Israel.”

Moon of Israel. Directed by Mihaly Kertesz (Michael Curtiz). Presented by the Boston Jewish Film Festival at the Somerville Theater, 55 Davis Square, Somerville, MA, on March 5.

An epic silent film based on H. Rider Haggard’s novel Moon of Israel, which in its turn was inspired by the Biblical story of Exodus. The plot, as summarized by The Boston Jewish Film Festival, sounds amazing: “A Jewish slave girl falls in love with the son of Pharaoh. This forbidden love leads to many problems but, ultimately, Moses leads the Jews to Freedom, through the Red Sea.” Pianist Gerhard Gruber supplies the live musical accompaniment. A must-see for any silent film fan …

– Bill Marx


Author Events

Dawn Tripp
Georgia: A Novel of Georgia O’Keeffe
February 29 at 7 p.m.
Brookline Booksmith, Coolidge Corner MA
Free

Tripp’s novel tells the story of Georgia O’Keefe, the then-unknown painter who travels to New York City in 1916 to meet Alfred Stieglitz, the famous photographer and art dealer who has been promoting her work. Their mutual curiosity evolves into an intellectual, artistic, and sexual tempest of historic proportions.

Blackass

A. Igoni Barrett
Blackass: A Novel
Tuesday, March 1 at 7 p.m. (free)
Harvard Book Store, Cambridge, MA

Barrett’s novel tells the surreal story of Furo Warlboko, a young Nigerian man who wakes up the morning of a job interview with a Kafkaesque dilemma: he’s suddenly turned into a white man, with green eyes, red hair, and pale skin. There’s only one thing that remains of his former body, the eponymous posterior, which sets off a series of socially charged misadventures amid the bustle of Lagos.

Mona Awad
13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl
March 1 at 7 p.m.
Brookline Booksmith, Coolidge Corner MA
Free

Awad’s novel is being heralded as “honest, searing, and necessary” and one of the most anticipated books of the year. It tells the story of a young woman growing up in “Misery Saga” (aka Mississippi) who is extremely self-conscious about her weight, forcing herself to lose pound after pound by working out. But no matter what she does to feel confident about her body, will she always remain a fat girl in her own eyes?

Idra Novey and Garth Greenwell
Ways to Disappear and What Belongs to You
March 2 at 7 p.m.
Harvard Book Store, Cambridge MA
Free

A double-header — part of the New Voices in Fiction series. Novey talks about her novel Ways to Disappear, which was called a “tour de force” by Kirkus Reviews. The story revolves around the disappearance of a legendary Brazilian writer who climbs up into an almond tree, never to be heard from again. Her American translator, upon hearing the news, immediately flies to Brazil to get answers. Greenwell’s highly praised debut novel concerns the longing and anguish of a gay American teacher looking for erotic fulfillment abroad.

Nelly Alard
Couple Mechanics
In Conversation with Courtney Maum
March 2 at 7 p.m.
Porter Square Books, Cambridge MA
Free

In a novel praised as “sexy” and “feminist,” Alard tells the story of a woman faced with the dilemma of what to do after she discovers that her husband has had an affair with a famous politician. The couple are successful, creative Parisians who have two young children, which sets up the inevitable question  – how do you find peace and wholeness after your world has been shattered? Alard’s prize-wining novel was recently translated into English, and she will discuss it with a local journalist.

Susan Jacoby

Susan Jacoby

Susan Jacoby
Strange Gods: A Social History of Conversion
Thursday, March 3 at 7 p.m.
Harvard Book Store, Cambridge, MA

Susan Jacoby is perhaps best known for Freethinkers, her superb history of American secularism and her spirited salvos against religious dogma. Jacoby’s latest confronts the history of religious conversions, offering a skeptic’s take on the history of famous conversions to the belief in absolute truth.

– Matt Hanson


Jazz

Tetratraptych
Wednesday, March 2 at 7:30 p.m.
Lily Pad, Cambridge, MA.

The unfailingly lyrical pianist and composer Bert Seager’s latest project features tunes written specifically with this crew in mind: Cuban-born tenor saxophonist Hery Paz, Israeli-born drummer Dor Herskovits, and acoustic bassist Max Ridley.

Aruán Ortiz
Wednesday, March 2 at 8 p.m.
Scullers Jazz Club, Boston, MA.

Cuban-born pianist and composer Aruán Ortiz is remarkably versatile and resistant to typecasting. Yes, he can play deep Afro-Cuban grooves along with jazz swing, but he also likes pensive abstractions on the traditional clave rhythms. His new Hidden Voices includes a diptych of Ornette Coleman’s “Open & Close” and “The Sphinx,” as well as Thelonious Monk’s “Skippy,” ancient Cuban folk, and adventurous originals. He’s playing Scullers with the drummer from the album, Gerald Cleaver, as well as bassist Brad Jones (filling in for Eric Revis).

The Reunion Project
Thursday, March 3 at 7:30 p.m.
Regattabar, Cambridge, MA.

An ad hoc Brazilian-jazz supergroup of sorts, with Boston ties, hits the Regattabar — the distinguished composer and saxophonist Felipe Salles, guitarist Chico Pinheiro, pianist Tiago Costa, bassist Bruno Migotto, and drummer Edu Ribeiro.

odessa-havana-b-iext29017239

Odessa Havana
Thursday, March 3 at 7:30 p.m.
Villa Victoria Cultural Center, Boston, MA.

This award-winning Canadian group, led by trumpeter David Bookbinder and pianist Hilario Duran, combines influences of klezmer, jazz, and Afro-Cuban music. You can catch them in Boston March 3, or in Worcester at Unity Hall on March 5.

Ramsey Lewis
Friday, March 4 and Saturday, March 5 at 8 and 10 p.m.
Scullers Jazz Club, Boston, MA.

Pianist and composer Ramsey Lewis can play just about anything he sets his mind to, and he’s pretty much had a lock on the crossover of jazz into pop ever since “The In Crowd.” He plays four shows at Scullers, but don’t be surprised if they sell out fast.

Aaron Diehl
Saturday, March 5 at 7:30 p.m.
Regattabar, Cambridge, MA.

Pianist Aaron Diehl and his trio have been making waves lately as the secret weapon of young star singer Cécile McLorin Salvant, but they’re well worth hearing on their own. The crew usually includes Diehl with bassist Paul Sikivie and drummer Laurence Leathers. Bright and accessible, Diehl’s music is also bracingly ambitious and deeply felt.

James Merenda Trio
Saturday, March 5 at 8 p.m.
Third Life Studio, Somerville, MA.

The fearless alto saxophonist, composer, and pianist James Merenda convenes bassist Jon Dreyer and drummer Miki Matsuki at Somerville’s intimate Third Life Studio. Merenda never fails to bring it.

Julian Lage
Sunday, March 6 at 7 and 9:30 p.m.
Club Passim, Cambridge, MA.

The twenty-eight-year-old guitar virtuoso and composer Julian Lage has an exciting new trio album coming out on March 11, Arclight (Mack Avenue); he brings his heavy-duty trio-mates from that album, bassist Scott Colley and drummer Kenny Wollesen, to Club Passim for two shows.

Mark Zaleski Band
Tuesday, March 8 at 7:30 p.m.
Regattabar, Cambridge, MA.

Zaleski and his band have been together in one form or another for the past 10 years, since the saxophonist was 20; he’s also been a regular with the Either/Orchestra for the past four years and has played with all manner of other ensembles (including with his brother, pianist Glenn Zaleski). The MZB crosses swing and rock beats, and they have a dandy arrangement of Thelonious Monk’s “Epistrophy.” The players include the leader on soprano, alto, and tenor; tenor saxophonist Jon Bean; pianist Jeff D’Antona, guitarist Mark Cocheo; bassist Danny Weller; and drummer Ryan Sands.

– Jon Garelick


Dance

Bolshoi Postmodern: The Flames of Paris
Thursday, March 3 at 6:30 p.m. and Sunday, March 6 at 12:30 p.m.
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA

View a film screening of the Bolshoi Ballet as it soars across the stage in Alexei Ratmansky’s adaptation of the classic ballet The Flames of Paris. Presented in partnership with Ballets Russes Arts Initiative and Bel Air Media.

Farraquito

Farruquito will perform in Boston this week.

Farruquito
Sunday, March 6 at 7:30 p.m.
Berklee Performance Center, Boston, MA

Regarded as one of the most faithful performers of flamenco puro, Farruquito brings his new work Improvisao to Boston, alongside guest artist Gema Moneo, singers, and an array of talented musicians. Presented by World Music/CRASHarts.

And further afield…

Five College Dance Department 2016 Faculty Concert.

Five College Dance Department 2016 Faculty Concert. Photo by Jim Coleman.

Five College Dance Department Faculty Concert
March 3—5 at 8pm
Studio Theatre, Mount Holyoke College
South Hadley, MA

The Five College Dance Department (made up of Amherst College, Hampshire College, Mount Holyoke College, Smith College, and UMass Amherst) presents an evening of new works by faculty and guest choreographers, including a restaging of Pilobolus’s Megawatt; a multi-screen video installation by Professor Roger Blum; and a new duet by Professor Thomas Vacant integrating music and poetry.

Of Note: On December 31, 2015, Penumbra:RME launched online historical timelines for the three major dance centers of Cambridge, Masssachusetts: the Dance Complex (DC), Green Street Studios (GSS), and Jose Mateo Ballet Theatre (JMBT). The timelines were funded by a 2015 Cambridge Arts Project Grant from the Cambridge Arts Council and Massachusetts Cultural Council. Each timeline includes major events, figures, and images from each location’s archival collections. The release of the timelines coincide with major anniversaries for each center (25th for the DC and GSS, 30th for JMBT). As part of the grant, each location was assigned a professional archivist to inventory their collections. To view these timelines and learn more about these important local dance organizations, please visit Dance Narratives.

– Merli V. Guerra


Theater

A scene from the

Deniz Khateri (foreground) with Quentin James and Becca A. Lewis in a scene from the Apollinaire Theatre Company production of “Sonic Life of a Giant Tortoise.” Photo: courtesy of the company.

Sonic Life of a Giant Tortoise: youth is not the only thing that’s sonic by Toshiki Okada. Translated from Japanese by Aya Ogawa. Directed by Danielle Fauteux Jacques. Presented by Apollinaire Theatre Company at Chelsea Theatre Works, Chelsea, MA., through March 13.

According to the Time Out review of the New York production of Toshiki Okada’s play, the dramatist (and his outstanding English translator, Aya Ogawa) have discovered a disturbing, naturalistic idiom that somehow slows down reality. In his airless worlds, banality drugs perception.” Arts Fuse review

The Hunchback of Seville by Charise Castro Smith. Directed by Taibi Magar. Staged by Trinity Rep at 201 Washington Street, Providence, Rhode Island, through March 6.

The script is billed as a “funny and madcap” take on Spanish history and colonialism: “At the turn of the 16th century, Christopher Columbus has just returned from the new world with gold in his pockets and blood on his hands. Maxima Terriblé Segunda, the brilliant adopted sister of dying HRH Queen Isabella, is living out her life locked away in a tower… until it is decided that the future of the country is in her nerdy, reclusive hands” The cast includes Phyllis Kay (as Maxima Terriblé Segunda) with Stephen Berenson, Janice Duclos, Anne Scurria, and Joe Wilson, Jr.

Tinker to Evers to Chance by Mat Smart. Directed by Sean Daniels. Staged by the Merrimack Repertory Theatre at the Nancy L. Donahue Theatre, located at 50 East Merrimack Street, Lowell, MA, through March 6.

The regional premiere of a script about “mothers, daughters, and baseball. The story spans a century of Chicago Cubs fandom, and resonates with honest questions about love, heartbreak, and hope.” Director Daniels “notes that the play is perfect for the Greater Boston scene: Red Sox fans (especially those from who remember the pre-2004 days) will empathize with the hapless Cubs, who haven’t won a World Series since 1908.” Arts Fuse review

The cast of "1984." Photo: Ben Gibbs.

The cast of a new adaptation of George Orwell’s “1984.” Photo: Ben Gibbs.

1984 by George Orwell, a new adaptation created by Robert Icke and Duncan Macmillan. Presented by the American Repertory Theater (in association with Headlong, Almeida Theatre, and Nottingham Playhouse Theater) at the Loeb Drama Center, Cambridge, MA, through March 6.

“The definitive book of the 20th century” (What in the world does that mean? Is this Big Brother speaking?) “is re-examined in a radical, award-winning adaptation exploring surveillance, identity and why Orwell’s vision of the future is as relevant now as ever.”

Searching for Signal, created by Elizabeth McGuire and Marissa Rae Roberts. Performed by ToUch Performance Art at Oberon, 11 Arrow Street, Cambridge, MA, through March 4.

“Infusing dialogue, dance, and video,” this is “a contemporary theater experience that captures a slice of life in this fast-changing digital world of missed connections as two dreamers struggle to separate their virtual identities from who they really are.”

Richard II by William Shakespeare. Directed by Allyn Burrows. At YMCA Central Square, Cambridge, MA, through March 13.

Written entirely in verse, this history play “is a compelling and provocative study of a king and his nation, caught in the upheaval of social change and political turmoil.” The impressive local cast includes Paula Plum, Robert Walsh, Doug Lockwood, Michael Forden Walker, and Marya Lowry.

Sasha Diamond and Alton Alburo in "The Wong Kids." Photo: Dan Norman.

Sasha Diamond and Alton Alburo in “The Wong Kids.” Photo: Dan Norman.

The Wong Kids in the Secret of the Space Chupacabra Go!, written by Lloyd Suh. Directed by Directed by Ralph B. Peña. Presented by Ma-Yi Theater Company at ArtsEmerson’s Paramount MainStage, Boston, MA, through March 6.

“Using a mix of action-driven storytelling, puppetry, and visual magic,” this kid-friendly show “transports its audience into the far reaches of the galaxy. Violet and Bruce Wong just don’t fit in with the other Earth kids. Sure, they have superpowers, they’re just not very good ones.”

Sorry by Richard Nelson. Directed by Weylin Symes. Staged by Stoneham Theater, 395 Main Street, Stoneham, MA, through March 13.

In this script [the third of The Apple Family Plays], “Richard Nelson journeys deeper into the characters we’ve come to know and love in this emotional and pivotal point of his four-play series.” The first-rate cast includes Joel Colodner, Laura Latreille, Karen MacDonald, Bill Mootos, and Sarah Newhouse.

Boxer Shorts II: From Water to Dust / De Agua al Polvo. Directed by Talia Curtin and Kyler Taustin. Staged by Brown Box Theatre Project at Atlantic Wharf, Boston, MA, through March 6.

A rare evening of international drama in these parts. The evening’s line-up of short plays features Tape by José Rivera, Capricho by Nilo Cruz, Springtime by María Irene Fornés, and Bliss by Caridad Svich. “All four plays feature playwrights of Latin American descent and are tied together by common themes of memory, reflection, and repentance.”

Cakewalk by Colleen Curran. Directed by David J. Miller. Staged by the Zeitgeist Stage Company at the Plaza Black Box Theater at the Boston Center for the Arts, Boston, MA, through March 19.

Foodies, this one may well be for you! The script “portrays the traditional cake baking competition in a small Vermont town during their July 4th festivities. The contestants include a nun, a driven Cub Scout leader, owner of the local organic café, the Mother-of-the-Bride, and the only male entry, an archeologist. While waiting for the competition to get underway, sparks fly and nerves are frayed, especially from the bride, who does not want her cake in competition.”

Rhinoceros by Eugene Ionesco. Translated by Derek Prouse. Adapted and directed by Wesley Savick. A co-production of the Boston Playwrights’ Theatre with Suffolk University at the Modern Theater, 525 Washington Street Boston, MA, through March 13.

An update of the Cold War absurdist classic. “Sunny afternoon. Newbury Street. Meeting a friend for coffee. You’re borderline depressed…crappy job, too neurotic to make the first move with a “good pal” co-worker, wallowing in self-pity…and maybe just a little hung-over. Everything is normal. And all at once, everyone you know turns into a rhinoceros.” Sound plausible to me …

Fast Company by Carla Ching. Directed M. Bevin O’Gara. Staged by the Lyric Stage Company of Boston, 140 Clarendon Street, Copley Square, Boston, MA, March 4 through 27.

“Wait til you meet Blue and HER family … Blue’s mom, Mable Kwan, is a tough cookie and the best grifter who ever lived . . . and she raised her kids to be just like her. Son Francis is the top roper around and H is the number one fixer. But it’s Blue — the outcast of the family — who surprises everyone by putting together the score of the decade.” Billed as “a fast, funny, and dangerous theatrical crime caper that will keep you guessing about who’s on top and who’s getting conned.”

Three Sisters by Anton Chekhov. Directed Lev Dodin. Staged by the Maly Drama Theatre of St. Petersburg. Presented by ArtsEmerson at the Emerson/Cutler Majestic Theatre, Boston, MA, March 2 through 6.

“One of Russia’s premiere theatre companies presents this luminous retelling of Chekhov’s masterpiece, which follows three sisters who are forced to leave Moscow for life in a provincial town.” Performed in Russian with English surtitles.

Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller. Directed by Robbie McCauley. Staged by the Roxbury Repertory Theater at the Roxbury College Media Arts Center’s MainStage (Building 1), 1234 Columbus Ave, Boston, MA, through March 5.

“A multi-racial cast of actors dance through Willy Loman’s head to challenge audiences’ perspectives” on the classic play. The intriguing aim is use the script to explore “the dissipation of the white American Dream in an emerging America of color.”

The Meursault Investigation by Kamel Daoud. Staged by French Stage at The French Cultural Center, 53 Marlborough Street, Boston, MA, March 2.

French Cultural Center and the Consulat Général de France à Boston are kicking off the establishment of French Stage with a staged reading of Daoud’s prize-winning novel Meursault, contre-enquête (The Meursault Investigation). The reading will be in French with a Q&A and reception to follow. Considered a literary and historical retelling of Albert Camus’ celebrated novel, L’Étranger (The Stranger), Daoud’s Meursault, contre-enquête garnered a number of awards, including the Prix Goncourt du premier roman in 2015. Guy Ben-Aharon directs one of Boston busiest actors, Nael Nacer.

Sorry by Richard Nelson. Directed by Weylin Symes. Staged by Stoneham Theatre at 395 Main Street, Stoneham, MA, through March 13.

The third of Nelson’s The Apple Family Plays “journeys deeper into the characters we’ve come to know and love in this emotional and pivotal point of his four-play series. It’s Election Day 2012, and the close-knit Apple family gathers in Rhinebeck, NY once again in an act of solidarity to face putting their beloved elderly uncle into a nursing home.” The impressive cast includes Karen MacDonald as Barbara Apple, Bill Mootos as Richard Apple, Sarah Newhouse*as Marian Apple Platt, Laura Latreille as Jane Apple Halls, and Joel Colodner as the aging Uncle Benjamin Apple.

The Hypocrites’ H.M.S. Pinafore, adapted by Sean Graney from the operetta by Gilbert & Sullivan. Co-directed by Sean Graney and Thrisa Hodits. Presented by American Repertory Theater (A.R.T.) and Oberon at 2 Arrow Street, Cambridge, MA, March 8 through 20.

“The Chicago-based company The Hypocrites, whose previous visits to the A.R.T. include their reimaginings of The Mikado, The Pirates of Penzance, Romeo Juliet, and 12 Nights, set their sights now on the 1878 operetta, infusing the absurdist comedy of W.S. Gilbert’s libretto with Monty Python clownishness, and bringing a folk/pop interpretation to Arthur Sullivan’s lovely, lilting melodies.” This is the third and final installment of the Gilbert & Sullivan trilogy. Note: This is a General Admission show. Please note that H.M.S Pinafore has no fixed seats. You can physically move around the space with the actors, where there are surfaces on the set you can rest, but you may be asked to move during the performance.

A Southern Victory — A Trilogy by Kevin Mullins. Directed by James Peter Soltis. Staged by Vagabond Theatre Group at the Boston Playwrights’ Theatre, 949 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA, March 4 through 26.

What promises to be a provocative drama that explores an alternative version of history. “The year is 1922. Slavery thrives in the Confederacy while prohibition occupies the United States. A tense stalemate between the two countries is quickly be eroded by the eruption of John Brown’s army, a cadre of militant prohibitionists detonating themselves in Southern cities in the name of freedom.” A Southern Victory has been named a finalist for a Princess Grace Award, and recognized as a finalist at the Eugene O’Neill National Playwrights Conference and the PlayPenn New Play Development Conference.

Eugene Lee in "How I Learned What I Learned." Photo: Josh Lamkin.

Eugene Lee in “How I Learned What I Learned.” Photo: Josh Lamkin.

How I Learned What I Learned, co-conceived and directed by Todd Kreidler. Staged by the Huntington Theatre Company at the Avenue of the Arts/Boston University Theatre, 264 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA, March 5 through April 12.

A one-man show featuring Eugene Lee in which the “late Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright August Wilson shares stories about his first few jobs, a stint in jail, his lifelong friends, and his encounters with racism, music, and love as a young poet in Pittsburgh’s Hill District. This theatrical memoir charts one man’s journey of self-discovery through adversity, and what it means to be a black artist in America.”

The Launch Prize by MJ Halberstadt. Directed by Tiffany Nichole Greene. Staged by the Bridge Repertory Theater of Boston at Deane Hall, the 2nd floor of the Calderwood Pavilion, Boston Center for the Arts, March 3 through 20.

Sounds like yet another attempt to examine the debate about the arts, value, and identity politics. “In this fast-paced new play, the gloves come off when one of four visual arts students asserts that the winner of the prestigious Launch Prize has been chosen on the basis of racial and gender identity, rather than talent or merit alone… “​

– Bill Marx


Visual Arts

Gothic to Goth: Romantic Era Fashion and Its Legacy
March 5 through July 10
Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford, CT

With the waning of the Napoleonic era in the early 19th century, the Romantic movement swept across Europe and the United States, banishing old school nymphs and goddesses and introducing to the zeitgeist smoldering heroes, imperiled heroines, dark secrets, monsters, crumbling castles, Gothic cathedrals, and tortured plots. It was the time of Lord Byron, Wuthering Heights, Frankenstein, Northanger Abbey, and a revolution in fashion that has never quite left us. The Wadsworth Atheneum bills its Gothic to Goth: Romantic Era Fashion and Its Legacy as the “first exhibition to fully explore the Romantic era as a formative period in costume history.” The multi-media presentation will pair historic costumes from the 1820s to the 1840s with paintings, prints, literature, and decorative arts that illustrate how Medieval designs, irrational passions, and wild imaginations ruled the Romantic Period. A selection of contemporary Goth and Steampunk designs by Alexander McQueen, Paul Gaultier, Rightwing Whitehead, and House of Comiglio show how the spirit of the first mass cultural movement survives well into the 21st century.

An example of Techstyle at the Museum of Fine Arts Boston. Iris van Herpen cape and skirt.

An example from “#Techstyle” at the Museum of Fine Arts Boston. Cape and skirt designed by Iris van Herpen.

#Techstyle
March 6 through July 10
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA

Meanwhile, the MFA presents a complementary show that looks at how the future of fashion will blend with new technologies. Here are clothes that you Tweet, ready-to-wears off a 3-D printer, laser-assisted patterns, and clothes that respond to your environment. The show includes photography and video along with fashion and accessories and features designers from around the world, among them VICTOR&ROLF, Ralph Lauren, Iris van Herpen, and, once again, Alexander McQueen.

— Peter Walsh

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