Arts Fuse critics select the best in dance, film, and theater that’s coming up this week.
By The Arts Fuse Staff
Insignificance by Terry Johnson. Directed by Daniel Gidron. Staged by the Nora Theatre Company at the Central Square Theater, Cambridge, MA, January 9 through February 9. Celebrity worship and guilt over helping to create the atomic bomb make for an entertainingly heady combination in Johnson’s 1982 play (made into a striking 1985 film by director Nicholas Roeg), which gives us Albert Einstein, Marilyn Monroe, and other brand name Americans meeting up in a hotel room during the early ’50s to talk over the viccitudes of fame and science.
Imagining Madoff, by Deborah Margolin. Directed by Elaine Vaan Hogue. Staged by New Rep Theater at the Arsenal Center for the Arts, Black Box Theater, January 4 through 26. The setup of this play from Obie Award-winning playwright Margolin sounds intriguing, though it flirts with contrivance, at least at first glance. Ponzi schemer Bernie Madoff and Solomon Galkin, a poet and Holocaust survivor, feature in “imagined jail conversations” that reveal “much about greed and the forces that led us to the Great Recession.” Wouldn’t just getting into the mind of the mega-bandit, and understanding how he preyed on others, be enough? But the cast, which includes the talented Jeremiah Kissel, is first rate for this New England premiere. And you can ask what Margolin thought she was doing in a Meet the Playwright talk on January 5th at 3:30 p.m.
Venus in Fur by David Ives. Directed by Daniel Goldstein. At the Huntington Theatre Company, Boston University Theater, Boston, MA, January 3 through February 2. Ives’s scripts generally contain plenty of genially surrealistic wit. I hope he channels Frank Wedekind and August Strindberg — not E.L. James — in this adaptation of the “classic erotic novel.” The conflict between an actress and director becomes an “electrifying game of cat and mouse as the lines blur between fantasy and reality, seduction and power, love and sex.” The New York Times huzzahs that this will be “90 minutes of good, kinky fun.” The HTC bills the production as “The Hottest Date Night in Boston.” Yet Broadway World assures us that the comedy is also “thought-provoking.” Mind or Body? You decide.
Once, Music and lyrics by Len Hansard and Marketa Irglova. Book, Enda Walsh. Directed by John Tiffany. Presented by Broadway in Boston at the Boston Opera House, 539 Washington Street Boston, MA, January 7 through 19. An Academy Award-winning movie turned into a Tony Award-winning musical — sounds like a solid business plan. This is the touring production of the Broadway hit about young love, clashing cultures, and creativity. I found the film likable but wan — others were captivated. A romantic yin to the erotic yang of Venus in Fur?
– Bill Marx
2014 Prudential U.S. Figure Skating Championships, at the TD Garden, Boston, January 5 through 12.
Is it art or sport? There’s no reason to split hairs about figure skating, it’s enough to enjoy its virtuosity. In this Olympic year, the stakes are high for the U.S. participants. The Skating Club of Boston is our host for skaters from young novices to A-list competitors, and in a special gift to the Boston community, anyone with a First Night button http://www.firstnightboston.org/ is eligible for a “buy one, get one free” ticket offer for the upper deck at the TD Garden’s Opening Ceremonies and Ladies’ Short Program event on Thursday night Jan 9.
Winter Wonder Dance Festival at the Dance Complex, Cambridge, MA, January 3 through 5.
The Dance Complex’s Winter Wonder Dance Festival, highlighted in last week’s Fuse picks, is celebrating both the new year and the snow day by making its performances Friday and Saturday absolutely free. Nada. Gratis. Open to the public. Put a donation in the jar to keep the Hot Chocolate Lounge filled with chocolate, or not, as you see fit.
The confirmed lineup is:
FRIDAY/JAN 3 at 8p: BANG IN THE NEW YEAR
David Parker/BANG Group, Ellenore Scott/ELSCO, Nicole Pierce, Peter DiMuro…James Morrow pending the weather
SATURDAY/ JAN 4 at 8p: RED HOT and COOL
Live Music and Dance: Ryan Edwards and Stan Strickland make music and Jen Nugent, Meredith Lyons, James Morrow make dance.
SUNDAY /JAN 5 at 4pm: FOUR RESOLUTIONS
The results of 4 repertory classes at Winter Wonder Dance with Adrienne Hawkins, David Parker, Nicole Pierce and Peter DiMuro.
– Debra Cash
A Touch of Sin, Brattle Theatre, Cambridge, MA, January 3 through 6.
A chance to see a bold film about modern China from a world class director, Jia Zhang Ke. The film won Best Screenplay at the 66th annual Cannes Film Festival. It is a four-part drama exploring the corrosive effects of violence in contemporary China through the eyes of a disgruntled miner, a migrant worker returning home for the New Year, a receptionist who was assaulted by a wealthy client, and a frustrated factory worker. Based on true stories. “A brilliant exploration of violence and corruption in contemporary China” (Jon Frosch, The Atlantic). Arts Fuse review
Best of the Ottawa International Animation Film Festival at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, MA, on Thursday, January 9, Saturday, January 18, and Sunday, January 19.
Every September the Ottawa International Animation Festival presents what its judges consider to be the world’s most cutting-edge, quirky and important examples of animation. This series is consistently remarkable, and worth the trip.
Camille Claudel 1915
, at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA, January 4 through 10.
Bruno Dumont’s film is a “grim portrait of monotony and silence broken by unrelieved despair, and an almost suffocating sense of claustrophobia and entrapment.” Sound like fun? Dumont’s study of Camille Claudel, a gifted turn-of-the-century sculptress, takes patience, but the reward can often be a revelation.
– Tim Jackson