Fuse Coming Attractions: What Will Light Your Fire This Week
Arts Fuse critics select the best in film, theater, music, dance, and author events for the coming week.
By The Arts Fuse Staff
Ne Me Quitte Pas
February 23 at 7 p.m.
Brattle Theatre, Cambridge, MA
Presented by The DocYard. The crisis of masculinity sub-genre is reworked in this one-of-a-kind documentary, which follows, with surprising humility and hilarity, the downward spiral of two Belgian farmers’ mid-life crises. “Left by his wife for another man, Marcel falls into a deep depression and alcoholism, with only his friend Bob, also an alcoholic, to look after him. Ne Me Quitte Pas is a tender, funny, and disturbing examination of the fragile male ego. Set against the beautifully photographed Belgian landscape, it is an unforgettable portrayal of the true meaning of friendship.” (Tribeca Film Festival)
The Possibilities Are Endless
February 26 at 7 p.m.
UMass Boston Campus Center, Ballroom “C”, 3rd Floor, Boston, MA
Free and open to the public
One day the celebrated lyricist Edwyn Collins woke up and could only utter two phrases: “Grace Maxwell” and “The possibilities are endless.” While he slept, the songwriter had suffered a stroke: the contents of his mind had been wiped clean. This affecting documentary chronicles the aftermath. Placed inside Collins’ consciousness, we embark on a journey that moves from the brink of death back to language, music, life and love. With the help of his wife Grace, Collins struggles to resurrect his memories, fighting to rediscover his past. More than a story about fighting for recovery against all odds, the film is an intimate and life-affirming tale of rediscovery. A Q&A with directors James Hall & Edward Lovelace follows the screening.
She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry
Opens on February 27
Coolidge Corner Theatre, Brookline, MA
“A terrific documentary that skillfully introduces the core ideas, struggles, and successes/failures of the women’s movement during the late ’60s and early ’70s from local organizers in cities like Boston, NY, Chicago, LA, and SF/Berkeley. They are pictured ‘back then’ as well as now, in recent interviews that allow for the rare kind of reflection that a younger audience so greatly appreciates.” (Judy Norsigian, Our Bodies, Ourselves)
Fixed: The Science/Fiction of Human Enhancement
March 1, at 7 p.m.
Temple Shir Tikva Sanctuary Social Hall A in Wayland, MA
From botox to bionic limbs, the human body is more “upgradeable” than ever. But can radical re-creation reach the point of making us more (or perhaps less) than human? What do we gain or lose when we reinvent ourselves? This film explores the social impact of human augmentation. Haunting and humorous, poignant and political, Fixed rethinks “disability” and “normalcy” by exploring technologies that promise to change our bodies and minds forever. Screening is followed by an interfaith, community dialogue with local clergy. This is part of the Reelabilities Film Screenings from the Boston Jewish Film Festival. Complete Weekend schedule
— Tim Jackson
The Wondertwins: To Hip-Hop, with Love
February 25 at 7:30 p.m.
Six-time winners of Showtime at The Apollo Theater, The Wondertwins bring to the stage a unique blend of hip hop, vaudeville, robot, tap, and mime. Praised by giants in the dance field for the eclectic beauty and strength of their work, identical twins Billy and Bobby McClain will perform three works in this show (curated by Debra Cash), which will draw on movie soundtracks, rap and the the poetry of Maya Angelou. Here is Debra’s recent Arts Fuse piece on The Wondertwins.
Doug Elkins: Hapless Bizarre and Mo(or)town/Redux
February 28 at 8 p.m.
Carling-Sorenson Theater, Babson College
Babson Park, MA
Actors, dancers, and clowns may seem like an unlikely combination, but acclaimed choreographer Doug Elkins makes it work! Enjoy a raucous and comical performance of Hapless Bizarre, alongside Elkins’s entangled quartet Mo(or)town/Redux, which gives a creative Motown twist to the tragic doings of the four central characters in Shakespeare’s Othello.
Compagnie Shantala Shivalingappa: Akasha
February 27 at 8 p.m. & February 28 at 8 p.m.
The Institute of Contemporary Art
Hailing from France, professional dancer Shantala Shivalingappa’s training is two-fold: she spent years working with many of the modern dance greats (Pina Bausch included) while she dedicated herself to mastering classical Indian dance. Akasha provides Boston audiences with a full evening of traditional Indian music and dance in the Kuchipudi style. For more on this performance and Shivalingappa’s take on the production, read her interview with The Arts Fuse.
Brian Brooks Moving Company with special guest Wendy Whelan
February 28 at 8 p.m. & March 1 at 3 p.m.
Citi Shubert Theatre
The Celebrity Series of Boston brings two big hitters to Boston. Wendy Whelan, the former principal ballerina of New York City Ballet, joins the Brian Brooks Moving Company to perform “First Fall,” a duet that features Whelan and Brooks. The rest of the evening will be made up of recent works by the company. Read an Arts Fuse review of Brian Brooks Moving Company at Jacob’s Pillow in 2014.
— Merli V. Guerra
Albattross, an adaptation for the stage of S.T. Coleridge’s “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” by Matthew Spangler & Benjamin Evett. Directed by Rick Lombardo. Staged by The Poets’ Theatre in the Jackie Liebergott Black Box at The Emerson Paramount Center, 559 Washington Street, Boston, MA through March 1.
This ‘from the page to the stage’ version of the venerable “water, water every where” poem stars Ben Evett: it promises to bring “you face to face with the Ancient Mariner, doomed for eternity to retell his harrowing story of an old ship, a voyage to the bottom of the world, and a mystical seabird.” Arts Fuse review
The Big Meal by Dan LeFranc. Directed by David J. Miller. Staged by Zeitgeist Stage Company at the Boston Center for the Arts (BCA) Plaza Black Box Theatre, Boston, MA, through March 7.
Foodies Unite! LeFranc’s play focuses on how serious things can happen while we munch away. 8 actors play 26 characters, and their experiences chowing down at various tables, according to The New York Times, “manages to telescope more than three generations of family life — and strife — into less than 90 minutes.”
Terra Nova by Ted Tally. Directed by Jake Scaltreto. Staged by Flat Earth Theatre at the Arsenal Center for the Arts, Watertown, MA, through February 28.
Ask yourself this: Do you want to venture through the frozen tundra that is the Boston area to see a show about being stuck in the frozen tundra? The play focuses on Scott’s infamous expedition, in which “patriotism and confidence urge them achingly forward through nature’s coldest, most inhospitable environment in a harrowing race to be the first in history to step foot on the South Pole.” Perhaps it will put our current snowy plight in perspective.
Father Comes Home From the Wars (Parts 1, 2 & 3) by Suzan Lori-Parks. Directed by Jo Bonney. A co-production between the American Repertory Theater and The Public Theater in New York, at the Loeb Drama Center, Cambridge, MA, through March 1.
“A devastatingly beautiful new play set over the course of the Civil War” that impressed a number of New York theater critics. “A masterful new work from one of our most lyrical and powerful writers” — and at her best Suzan Lori-Parks lives up to the latter description — the drama “is a deeply personal epic about love and hope in a world of impossible choices.” Arts Fuse Review
Intimate Apparel by Lynn Nottage. Directed by Summer L. William. Staged by the Lyric Stage Company of Boston at 40 Clarendon Street, Copley Square, Boston, MA, through March 14.
Nottage’s tough but tender play deals with race, sex, and class. The script is a “loving and evocative portrait of Esther, an independent but lonely African American seamstress in early 20th-century Manhattan who earns a living sewing exquisite lingerie for wealthy socialites uptown, and women of ill repute downtown. When Esther receives a letter from a stranger who is laboring on the Panama Canal, she begins an epistolary courtship with him, only to discover that he is not all that he seems.”
Uncle Jack written and directed by Michael Hammond. A co-production of the Boston Center for American Performance (BCAP) and Boston Playwrights’ Theatre (BPT) at the Boston University Theatre’s Lane-Comley Studio 210, Boston, MA, through March 1.
“In this modern-day retelling of Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya, Uncle Jack, his niece Sonya, and his British brother-in-law Derek struggle to save their small summer theatre company in the Berkshires…and the company’s looming demise causes old wounds to bleed afresh.” Playwright Hammond is a member of the Boston University College of Fine Arts School of Theatre faculty, and Uncle Jack is his first full-length play. The strong cast includes award-winning local performers Will Lyman, Steven Barkhimer, and Nancy E. Carroll.
Oceanside by Nick Gandiello. Directed by Melia Bensussen. At the Merrimack Repertory Theatre, Lowell, MA, through March 8.
Sounds like (another) intense family drama, though this is a world premiere: “Gwen thought she had successfully walked away from her troubled past. But then her ex-husband returns with news of their grown daughter’s disappearance and with him come the demons that she sought to erase from her idyllic new life.” The cast includes Allyn Burrows, Joey Collins, Caroline Lawton, and Carolyn Baeumler. Warning: Contains Adult Content
The King of Second Avenue (based on The King of the Schnorrers by Israel Zangwill). Book and Lyrics by Robert Brustein. Music by Hankus Netsky. Directed by Matthew ‘Motl’ Didner. Staged by the New Repertory Theatre in the Arsenal Center for the Arts at the Charles Mosesian Theater, Watertown, MA, through March 8.
This is the world premiere production of a musical based on a story by Israel Zangwill. The update features “a Romeo and Juliet love story set against the background of antagonistic Jewish sects in the Lower East Side of 1960s Manhattan.” The klezmer score is composed by Hankus Netsky. Arts Fuse review
Wit by Margaret Edison. Directed by Sidney Friedman. A co-production of the Boston Center for American Performance (BCAP) and Boston Playwrights’ Theatre (BPT) at the Calderwood Pavilion at the Boston Center for the Arts, Roberts Theatre, Boston, MA, through February 28.
A revival of Edison’s powerful play about “Vivian Bearing, Ph.D., a renowned professor of English who has spent years studying and teaching the brilliant and difficult metaphysical sonnets of John Donne, has been diagnosed with terminal ovarian cancer.” The cast includes Judy Braha, Mark Cohen, and Paula Langton.
Simon Says: A Dramatized Séance by Mat Schaffer. Directed by Myriam Cyr. Staged by Little Seer Productions at the Plaza Theatre at the Boston Center for the Arts, 527 Tremont Street, Boston, MA, February 26 through March 14.
A drama whose conflict is sparked by a VOICE FROM BEYOND. “In an effort to scientifically prove the existence of the soul after death, Professor Williston (Ken Baltin) has spent more than a decade studying James (Anthony J. Goes), a young psychic. James achieves his extrasensory ability by channeling Simon, an all-knowing being, offering wisdom from beyond. When Annie (Brianne Beatrice), a recent widow, comes to their home for a reading, events that took place two thousand years ago culminate, achieving reunion, redemption and resolution in the present day.”
Greenland by Nicolas Billon. Directed by Meg Taintor. Staged by the Apollinaire Theatre Company, Chelsea Theatre Works, 189 Winnisimmet St., Chelsea, MA, through March 15.
According to director Meg Taintor, former artistic director of the heralded local company Whistler in the Dark, “all people in this play are writing their own creation myth, and then pitching it to us.” The script “centers on a family that has fallen apart after a serious internal tragedy, which is mirrored by one of the characters discovering a new island off of Greenland’s coast. In three monologues, we meet husband, wife, and adopted daughter, and we learn that something is seriously broken in their family dynamic. The island has separated from the mainland in the same way the three characters have separated from each other, and there is no turning back.”
Canadian dramatist Billon has been receiving a lot of attention lately, including critical praise for the lyrical intensity of his language. Greenland (2009) has been published in Billon’s Fault Lines: Three Plays: the other two scripts are Iceland (2012) and Faroe Islands (2013). According to a review of the volume on pageandstage.com: “Billon’s three plays are broadly related by the idea of fault lines or fractures, discontinuities wherein stress is both accumulative and instantaneous, and where energy is most strikingly experienced as a dramatic upheaval. Billon has affinities with Wallace Shawn as well as with Neil Labute. He is less political than Shawn, but he shares with the American satirist a facility with the monologue form.”
The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams. Directed by Brian Mertes. Staged by Trinity Repertory Company at the Chace Theater, 201 Washington St., Providence, Rhode Island, February 26 through March 29.
Williams’s oft-oft-produced warhorse will no doubt receive a radical revamping in the hands of director Mertes, who is nothing if not enterprising. The cast features Mia Ellis as Laura Wingfield, Brian McEleney as Tom Wingfield, and Anne Scurria as Amanda Wingfield.
That Hopey Changey Thing by Richard Nelson. Directed by Weylin Symes. Staged by the Stoneham Theatre, Stoneham, MA, February 26 through March 15..
A collaborative event: the New England premiere of the first of Richard Nelson’s much-praised The Apple Family Plays. Over the course of the next two seasons, Stoneham Theatre and Gloucester Stage will produce all four scripts: That Hopey Changey Thing, Sweet and Sad, Sorry, and Regular Singing. The kickoff installment “introduces us to the Apples, a typical liberal American family that cares very deeply about one another, yet still manages to push each other’s buttons.” The impressive cast includes Karen MacDonald, Sarah Newhouse, Laura Latreille, Bill Mootos, Paul Melendy, and Joel Colodner. Arts Fuse critic Joann Green Breuer saw two of the plays in New York and had this response: “Nelson’s art is an act of love, as art is meant to be.”
— Bill Marx
Presented by New England Conservatory
February 23, 8 p.m.
Williams Hall, Boston, MA
Seven of Berio’s extraordinary (and extraordinarily) virtuosic compositions for solo instruments – here for flute, voice, piano, trombone, violin, guitar, and double bass – receive performances by NEC’s Avant-Garde Ensemble.
Julia Fischer plays Brahms
Presented by the Boston Symphony Orchestra
February 26-28, March 3, 8 p.m. (1:30 p.m. on Friday)
Symphony Hall, Boston, MA
Charles Dutoit returns to Symphony Hall for the first of his two-week residency, conducting Stravinsky’s Dumbarton Oaks and Debussy’s Images. Violinist Fischer joins him for Brahms’s towering Violin Concerto.
— Jonathan Blumhofer
Faculty Artist Recital
February 23 at 8 p.m.
Presented by the the BU School of Music at the BU Concert Hall, 855 Commonwealth Ave., Boston, MA
Michael Zaretsky (viola) and Vytas Baksys (piano) perform works by Ludwig van Beethoven, Johannes Brahms, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, and Dmitri Shostakovich.
Scriabin: Towards the Flame
February 26 at 8 p.m.
Presented by New England Conservatory at Williams Hall, Boston, MA
The fourth of six chronological presentations of the complete solo piano works composed by the Russian romantic visionary, Alexander Scriabin (1872-1915). “NEC students will perform opus numbers 25 through 39, which comprise the fourth sonata as well as 36 miniatures: poèmes, preludes, and more.” “My god and idol … I loved him to distraction … Not only a composer, but an occasion for perpetual congratulation, a personified festival and triumph of Russian culture … ” — Boris Pasternak.
Othello in the Seraglio
The Tragedy of Sümbül the Black Eunuch
February 27 at 8 p.m.
Presented by the Cambridge Society for Early Music at the Weston Congregational Church, 130 Newton Street, Weston, MA
A coffee-house opera cooked up by Dünya, a Musicians’ Collective. Tom Zajac and Mehmet Ali Sanlıkol are at the helm. The piece is based on Shakespeare’s Othello and novels by Cinzio (1565) and Koçu (1933). The music will be drawn from 16th- and 17th-century European and Turkish sources along with original music by M. A. Sanlıkol.
Mythos/Melos – The Intertwining Threads of Music and Narrative
February 27 at 8 p.m.
Presented by Tufts University at in the Distler Performance Hall at the Granoff Music Center, 20 Talbot Avenue, Medford, MA
Acclaimed pianists Lois Shapiro and Randall Hodgkinson perform Igor Stravinsky’s revolutionary ballets Petrouchka and Firebird in vibrant transcriptions for two pianos, along with new pieces by Martin Brody (True Pete) and a world premiere by John McDonald (Kindling with Subsongs) which offer fresh responses to and explorations of Stravinsky’s masterpieces.
March 1 at 7:30 p.m.
Presented by the Boston Early Music Festival at the St. Paul’s Church, 29 Mount Auburn Street, Cambridge, MA
“Stile Antico have rapidly established themselves as a favorite on the Boston Early Music Festival concert stage and one of the most sought-after Renaissance vocal ensembles in the world. Performing in the BEMF Concert Season for their fifth consecutive year, the group explores the music associated with three great Hapsburg monarchs: Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I, his successor and grandson Charles V, and Charles’s son King Philip II of Spain, who married Mary I of England.From the Imperial Court: Music for the House of Hapsburg.”
— Susan Miron
February 24, 7:30 p.m.
Regattabar, Cambridge, MA.
The Armenian-born, Los Angeles-raised 27-year-old pianist, composer, and vocalist Tigran Hamasyan, winner of the 2006 Thelonious Monk Piano Competition, plays music with a pan-stylistic, global reach, personal and probing, easily at home with folkloric Armenian grooves and melodies or layered cinematic electronic pastiche that veers into smart jazz-rock. His fifth album, and Nonesuch label debut, Mockroot, was released earlier this month.
Fred Hersch Trio
February 25, 8 p.m.
Scullers Jazz Club, Boston, MA.
Pianist and composer Fred Hersch’s deep lyricism and restless musical intelligence has no better showcase than his longstanding trio with bassist John Hébert and drummer Eric McPherson.
February 27, 7:30 and 10 p.m.
Regattabar, Cambridge, MA.
Keyboardist John Medeski (Medeski Martin & Wood), saxophonist Skerik, and drummer Adam Deitch travel the spaceways of jamband funk and post-Miles electronics.
Everyone in the quartet Bolt — saxophonist and lyricon player Jorrit Dijkstra, guitarist Eric Hofbauer, cellist Junko Fujiwara, and drummer Eric Rosenthal —thinks like a composer, which makes their spontaneously improvised creations a true wonder.
February 28, 8 p.m. and 10 p.m.
Scullers Jazz Club, Boston, MA.
Dominican keyboard wizard Michel Camilo can whip up folkloric dance grooves, driving jazz swing, or brilliantly voiced ballads. He plays a rare one-night-only solo-piano stop at Scullers, drawing, we’d guess form his 2014 solo-piano release What’s Up? (Okeh).
March 1, 7 p.m.
Lily Pad, Cambridge, MA.
Bathysphere is the name of a particular type of deepwater manned vessel, but in this case it also suggests a combination of the Greek root word for “deep” with Thelonious Monk’s middle name. The name is meant to conjure the band’s distinctive low-end sound (two basses, baritone sax, tuba, trombone, and lyricon) and, we guess, the compositional imperatives of the great Sphere. Anyway, the players, drawn from the Driff Records roster (see Bolt, February 28) include trumpeters Forbes Graham and Dan Rosenthal, trombonist Jeff Galindo, tubist Josiah Reibstein, saxophonists Jorrit Dijkstra, Charlie Kohlhase, and Matt Langley, pianist Pandelis Karayorgis, bassists Nate McBride and Jef Charland, drummer Luther Gray, and electronics master Andrew Neumann. This is the inaugural show of three by this group over the next few months.
March 3, 7:30 p.m.
Regattabar, Boston, MA.
Open forms, electric guitar, and heady saxophone put Bann on the Wayne Shorter side of the late-’60s Miles Davis street . The band is saxophonist Seamus Blake, guitarist Oz Noy, bassist Jay Anderson, and drummer Adam Nussbaum.
— Jon Garelick
Second Chance President’s Day Sale
February 22, 10 a.m through 10 p.m.
Harvard Square Books, Cambridge, MA
In case you were buried under mountains of snow last week, Harvard Square Books will be offering a makeup day for its annual President’s day sale. On Sunday everything in the store will be 20% off, which includes new, used, and remaindered books as well as non-book items including tote bags, clothing, cards, and coffee mugs.
Tesla: A Portrait with Masks
February 23, 7 p.m.
Porter Square Books, Cambridge, MA
Nicola Tesla is one of the most influential — and most misunderstood –inventors of the 20th Century. His rivalry with Thomas Edison was the stuff of legend. Pistalo is a Croatian novelist who teaches at Becker College. His novel Tesla won Croatia’s most prestigious literary prize; it is the first of his books to be translated into English. Poet Charles Simic called the volume a “beautifully written, immensely entertaining, astonishingly original portrait.”
Joshua Ferris & Helen Oyeyemi
To Rise Again at a Decent Hour & Boy, Snow, Bird
February 24 at 4:30 p.m.
Newhouse Conference Room, Wellesley College, Wellesley, MA
Two of the most interesting and acclaimed contemporary novelists around come to Wellesley to read from and discuss their latest work. Both authors have been named one of their respective countries’ best writers under 40. A New Yorker, Ferris is the author of popular and acclaimed novels such as Then We Came to the End and At Night We Walk in Circles. The Nigerian-British Oyeyemi has created her own variation on the genre of the twisted fairy tale.
Laura van den Berg
February 27 at 7 p.m.
Harvard Book Store, Cambridge, MA
In an event co-sponsored by Grubstreet, Harvard Book Store’s New Voices in Fiction Series welcomes Laura van den Berg, who will read and sign copies of her new novel. Find Me is the darkly witty story of Joy, a young orphan who stock shelves at a grocery store outside Boston. She has turned to drinking cough syrup to quell the pain of her traumatic past. As heavy snow descends and the social order breaks down, Joy travels cross country in search of the secret of her family and herself.
Love and Lies: An Essay on Truthfulness, Deceit, and the Growth and Care of Erotic Love
February 28 at 1 p.m.- 2 p.m.
Harvard Coop, Cambridge, MA
Ever since Socrates debated the nature of erotic love in Plato’s Symposium, philosophers have explored whether or not love can lead us to the truth about ourselves and the universe. Author Clancy Martin thinks that this idealism is misplaced, arguing that it is difficult to sustain long-term love (marriage) without at least a modicum of self-deception.
Michael Ondaatje & Pico Iyer
The Wilson Lecture: In Conversation
March 1 at 8 p.m.
Houghton Chapel, Wellesley College, Wellesley, MA
The keynote address for Wellesley College’s House reading series presents two eminent writers sitting down to talk about ideas of home. Ondaatje is the acclaimed author of The English Patient as well as of a variety of novels and books of poetry. Iyer is the cosmopolitan essayist, journalist, and global thinker whose work regularly appears in publications around the world.
I Am Radar
March 2 at 7 p.m.
Brookline Booksmith, Coolidge Corner, Brookline, MA
A black child, given the name of Radar Radmanovic, is born to a white couple in suburban New Jersey in 1975. His life resonates, in strange ways, with political events in Yugoslavia, Norway, The Congo, and beyond. In his much-anticipated second novel, Larsen continues to develop the inventive brand of storytelling that marked his best-selling debut volume, The Selected Works of T.S. Spivet.
— Matt Hanson