Arts Fuse critics select the best in theater, visual arts, film, music, author events, and dance for the coming week.
By The Arts Fuse Staff
August 26 at 7:26 p.m.
Starring Paul Rudd & Michael Douglas. Armed with a super-suit with the astonishing ability to shrink in scale but increase in strength, Ant Man helps his mentor Hank Pym to protect the secret of the ant-suit.
Though August 27
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA
This Bulgarian-Romanian fiction follows the life of Viktoria, an infant who is miraculously born without an umbilical cord. Richard Brody of the New Yorker calls it: “A passionately realistic story that details the daily lives of its characters but is based on wondrous flights of fantasy . . . realized by means of simple yet gleefully audacious special effects Directed by Maya Vitkova, this surreal feminist film moves from personal and intimate to wildly political and subversive: a rare work from Bulgaria which should help put their cinema on the map.”
Free Friday Hatch Shell Flicks
Fridays at Sunset, Hatch Memorial Shell on the Charles River
— Tim Jackson
Ugly Lies the Bone by Lindsey Ferrentino. Directed by Daniela Varon. Staged by Shakespeare & Company at the Bernstein Theatre, through August 28.
The regional premiere of a script that examines the trauma of war: “Combat veteran Jess comes home to Florida after three tours in Afghanistan bearing deep physical and emotional scars. An innovative, experimental video game therapy offers an escape from her excruciating pain, but can virtual reality help Jess come to terms with the altered reality of her hometown, relationships, and dreams?”
FRINGEPVD 2016, in various locations in (AS220 Black Box Theater, Aurora, The Avenue Concept, Better Off, Big Nazo Satellite Space, Mathewson Street Black Box Theater, RISD Museum, The Steel Yard, and The Wilbury Theatre Group) throughout Providence, Rhode Island, through August 30.
Maybe someone in Boston might pick up on this? “The only Fringe Festival within the Providence and Greater Boston area, FRINGEPVD has grown rapidly since it’s inaugural year in 2014, expecting this year to bring together more than two hundred individual theatre, music, dance, multi-media, and performing artists for five nights of performances in eleven venues throughout the city.”
Or, by Liz Duffy Adams. Directed by Alice Reagan. Staged by Shakespeare & Company in the Tina Packer Playhouse at 70 Kemble Street, Lenox, MA, through September 4.
Tod Randolph stars in this historical drama, which centers on a hectic time in the life of seventeenth century playwright Aphra Behn, known to history as the first credited female playwright. She “has one opportunity to have her play produced and fulfill her desperate desire to leave the spy trade behind her. The catch? She must finish and deliver her play by morning all while fighting off distracting romantic temptations, attempting to win a pardon, and trying to save the life of royalty. Her hectic antics unfold into a night of hilarity, passion, and self discovery that tells a story that transcends time.”
Constellations by Nick Payne. Directed by Gregg Edelman. Staged by Berkshire Theatre Group at the Unicorn Theatre on the Larry Vaber Stage, BTG’s Stockbridge Campus, 6 East Street, Stockbridge, MA, through August 27.
Another theatrical search for romantic wisdom: “The heartfelt and poignant two-character drama follows Marianne, a quirky quantum physicist, played by Kate Baldwin, and Roland, a beekeeper, played by Graham Rowat. Their first encounter is seemingly ordinary—crossing paths at a mutual friend’s barbeque. Exploring the endless possibilities of their budding romance, the characters create their own multi-verse to see how their relationship would play out if they had chosen fate over chance.”
Broadway Bounty Hunter, Music and lyrics by Joe Iconis, Book by Lance Rubin and Jason SweetTooth Williams. Choreography by Jeffrey Page. Directed by Leah C. Gardiner. Staged by Barrington Stage’s Musical Theatre Lab at the St. Germain Stage, 36 Linden Street, Pittsfield, MA, through September 4.
This sounds as if it could be fun: “Inspired by the Blaxploitation movies of the 1970s (think Shaft), this exciting new musical is about a down-on-her-luck actor Annie (SAG Award Winner and Broadway veteran Annie Golden) as she’s asked to become a bounty hunter and capture a South American drug lord. With a score rich with R&B and Funk (and a splash of ‘80s Rock ‘n’ Roll), the musical follows a woman of a certain age as she tries to find the inner strength she needs to save theatre and realize her true badass identity.”
Songs for a New World by Jason Robert Brown. Directed by Robert Walsh. At the Gloucester Stage Company, 267 East Main Street, Gloucester, MA, through August 27.
A musical revue with a point of view: “Artfully blending pop, jazz, and gospel in powerful solo and ensemble styles, this musical takes you on multiple journeys that result in that ‘moment of decision’ we inevitably face in our own lives.”
The Mountaintop by Katori Hall. Directed by Colette Robert. Presented by the Cheater Theater Company at Chester Town Hall, 15 Middlefield Road, Chester, MA., through August 28.
This oft=produced “re-imagining of the last night in the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.” received the Olivier Award for Best New Play when it premiered in London.
Tribes by Nina Raine. Directed by Jenn Thompson. Staged by the Barrington Stage Company at the Boyd-Quinson MainStage, 30 Union Street, Pittsfield, MA, through September 3.
“Winner of the 2012 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Play” this script is billed as “a funny, yet moving, and always provocative play about a young man who was born deaf into an unconventional hearing family. It’s not until he meets Sylvia, a young woman on the brink of deafness, that he finally understands what it means to ‘speak up’ for himself.”
The Ladies Man, written and directed by Charles Morey. An adaptation of Tailleur pour Dames by Georges Feydeau. Staged by the Peterborough Players at 55 Hadley Rd., Peterborough, NH, through August 28.
What would summer theater be without a serving of the old bedroom farce? Nice to have one inspired by Feydeau, the French grandmaster of bourgeois panic. “In Belle Époque Paris, the recently married Dr. Hercule Molineaux tells ‘one, tiny, little, hardly noticeable lie’ to cover an innocent but embarrassing indiscretion. From that single untruth tumbles a cascade of increasingly convoluted deceptions, misunderstandings and mistaken identities.”
Sotto Voce by Nilo Cruz. Directed by Daniel Gidron. Staged by Shakespeare & Company at the Elayne P. Bernstein Theatre, Lenox, MA, through September 11.
“In 1939 the MS St. Louis set out in search of homes for the hundreds of Jewish refugees aboard, only to be turned away by Cuba and the United States. Decades later, a young Cuban-Jewish man named Saquiel seeks out Bemadette Kahn, a famous, reclusive writer who was separated from her Jewish lover when he boarded the MS St. Louis all those years ago. The result is three seemingly disconnected souls brought together in a fantastical relationship fueled by the power of memories.” The cast includes Annette Miller.
Notes from the Field: Doing Time in Education, created, written and performed by Anna Deavere Smith. Music composed and performed by Marcus Shelby. Directed by Leonard Foglia. Presented by the American Repertory Theater at the Loeb Drama Center, Cambridge, MA, through September 17.
Anna Deavere Smith’s performance piece “outlines the civil rights crisis currently erupting at the intersection between America’s education system and its mass incarceration epidemic.”
Cymbeline by William Shakespeare. Directed by Kyler Taustin. Staged by the Brown Box Theatre Project at the Waterfront Plaza at Atlantic Wharf, 290 Congress Street, Boston, MA (and at other places throughout the Boston area. Check the website for performance locations), through August 28.
Another entry in the free outdoor Shakespeare derby. A very difficult script of the Bard’s to deal with — George Bernard Shaw thought the ending was such a mess of revelations he wrote a new one.
— Bill Marx
Manchester Summer Chamber Music: A Celebration of String Quartet Masterworks
August 27 at 7:30 p.m.
Barn at Castle Hill, 290 Argilla Road, Ipswich, MA
On the program: Schubert’s Quartetsatz, D. 703; Mozart’s String Quartet No. 21 in D Major, K. 575, mvt. I, Brahms’s String Quartet in C Minor, Op. 51, No. 1, mvt. II, Mendelssohn’s String Quartet in D Major, Op. 44, No. 1, mvt. I, Haydn’s String Quartet in B flat Major, Op. 76, No. 4 “Sunrise”, mvt. I, Beethoven’s String Quartet in E Minor, Op. 59, No. 2, mvt III, Puccini’s Crisantemi, Shostakovich’s Elegy & Polka, and Schubert’s String Quintet in C Major, D. 956, mvt. III.
— Susan Miron
Art and Industry in Early America: Rhode Island Furniture, 1650-1830
through January 8, 2017
Yale Art Gallery, New Haven, CT
If there is one clear sign of the American exceptionalism to be, it is in the nation’s early furniture. Long before the Declaration of Independence, American craftsmen had departed ways with their old world counterparts, infusing traditional designs with new energy and imagination, creating work of outstanding quality, and catering to distinctive, regional tastes. This exhibition at the Yale Art Gallery features pieces from one of the most important centers for early American craftsmanship and domestic design: Rhode Island. There will be more than 130 examples from museums, historical societies, period houses, and private collections. The objects on display will include richly carved tables, chairs, chests, and clocks from the high-style centers of Providence and Rhode Island. There will also be simpler works from small towns and rural areas, pieces that particularly appeal to modern tastes. The show reflects a great period of “Made in America,” before cheap, factory-made products eclipsed stilled hand work early in the 19th century.
(413): Pioneering Western Massachusetts
through November 27
Fuller Craft Museum, Brockton, MA
Over several decades, rural Western Massachusetts has become a bucolic refuge for several low-tech cultural trends, including music, theatre, dance, and contemporary crafts. This exhibition features the work of four latter-day craft “pioneers” working in several media: Josh Simpson (glass), Mark Shapiro (ceramics), Silas Kopf (woodworking), JoAnn Kelly Catsos (baskets), and Mara Superior (ceramics) that have brought the region to national prominence. The show’s title refers to the Massachusetts area code that covers the hills, woods, fields, and towns from the New York border to Worcester County, a landscape, the organizers claim, that “offers opportunities for makers that are unlike those found anywhere else.”
Folding, Refraction, Touch: Modern and Contemporary Art in Dialogue with Wolfgang Tillmans
Vision and Justice
Modern Art and Modernity
through January 8, 2017
Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, MA
As summer winds down, the Harvard Art Museums kicks off their fall season with three shows that touch on modernity and the museums’ teaching mission. With Folding, Refraction,Touch, German born Wolfgang Tilmans, who has spend much of his career in the United Kingdom and was the first non-English person and the first photographer to win the U.K.’s prestigious Turner Prize, unveils a 19-part installation created specifically for Harvard’s Busch-Reisinger Museum. Works by Oskar Nerlinger, Norbert Kricke, Isa Genzken, and other simpatico artists round out the exhibition. Vision and Justice, created for a Harvard course, looks at the complicated relationships between art, justice, and African-American culture during the struggle for civil rights. The works range from the 19th to the 21st centuries, with an emphasis on the 20th, featuring, among other things, drawings by Kara Walker and photographs by Gordon Parks. Finally, Modern Art and Modernity, another teaching installation, looks turning points in modern art and culture culture from the 18th through the 20th century, encompassing prints, drawings, paintings, photographs, and photomontage.
Lauren Henkin: Second Nature
through October 23
Center for Maine Contemporary Art, Rockland, ME
Maine-based photographer Lauren Henkin’s photographs and videos are intended to raise questions about the ways an all-encompassing digital, image-saturated culture affects how human beings look at nature. Her stunning flower close-ups, which seem to breath air from an earlier, quieter century, can be appreciated quite on their own aesthetic merits, however.
— Peter Walsh
And further afield…
Wiscasset Art Walk
Thursday, August 25, 5-8 p.m.
Boston’s own Luminarium Dance Company travels to Maine for its annual appearance in the August Wiscasset Art Walk. Follow the dancers as they perform down the streets and through the art galleries that line the shores of the coastal town.
— Merli V. Guerra
Rock, Pop, and Folk
Among the songs on President Obama’s recently revealed Spotify summer playlist was Aretha Franklin’s “Rock Steady” and “All Day Music” by WAR. With a slew of other well-known hits and enough lesser-known album tracks for each to constitute their own set list, the latter artist—led by lifelong member Leroy “Lonnie” Jordan–is sure to satiate several hundred Cabot attendees on Saturday, August 27.
The early-80s MTV fixture whose hits include “One Things Leads to Another,” “Red Skies,” and “Stand or Fall” make a rare live appearance in Somerville. Popular local octet Eddie Japan, who won both the Rock ‘N’ Roll Rumble and the Boston Music Award for Live Artist of the Year in 2013, will open.
— Blake Maddux
August 25 at 8 p.m.
Scullers Jazz Club, Boston, MA.
No less an authority than Nat Hentoff called Amanda Carr “a true jazz singer in a time of wannabes.” And yes, she is. She’s joined by the Ken Clark Organ Trio and saxophonist Myanna.
August 26 at 8 p.m.
Regattabar, Cambridge, MA.
Discovered by Wynton Marsalis at age 17, the Cleveland-born trumpeter Dominic Farinacci has a big, beautifully modulated sound that he crafts in service to long spans of lyrical melodic narrative. His good-humored, ingratiating stage presence is as generous as his playing.
En Route Trio
August 26 at 8 p.m.
Third Life Studio, Somerville, MA.
Drummer Jean-Marie Corrois seems to like that spare, no-bullshit post-bop/post-fusion thing (think of something especially tensile and swinging on ECM). He’s joined by the versatile guitarist and composer Nick Grondin and bassist Flavio Lira.
— Jon Garelick
World Music and Roots
The biggest day of the year for Boston’s Caribbean community draws fete fans from all over the U.S. and Canada to see the floats, costumes, and steel bands that it has taken months to put together. Of course, the early morning j’ouvert and afternoon parades, along with the festival in Franklin Park, are the biggest draws, but the week is filled with boat rides, DJ nights, and neighborhood festivities. Soca-heavy pirate radio station BigCity FM is now airing a 15-minute loop full of Carnival-related event ads. There don’t seem to be quite as many big name entertainers coming to town as there were in the past, but perhaps that’s because soca has become so dominant that its stars can headline shows throughout the year. But up and coming Bajan and Trinidadian soca artists will be flooding the city to sing their 2016 hits to tracks on Friday night: Marz Ville, M1 and GBM Nutron are at the William E. Reed Auditorium while Lyrikal and Linky are at a “camo fete” at the Unity Sports Club. (Military garb-themed parties are so popular that the same venue will host another one the following night.)
— Noah Schaffer
An Evening with Pangyrus
Shanoor Seerval, Anne Bernays, Jonathan Escoffery, Carrie Oeding, Jonathan Weinert
August 29 at 7 p.m.
Harvard Book Store, Cambridge, MA
Boston has a new print journal of literature, arts, perspective, and politics. Pangyrus combines Pangea (the world candidate) and gyrus (the part of the cerebral cortex necessary for verbal communication. Contributors will read their pieces from the second issue, helping to fulfill the magazine’s goal of fostering Boston’s literary culture.
The Art of Memoir
September 6 at 7 p.m.
Brookline Booksmith, Coolidge Corner, MA
Karr made her name with her enthralling memoir The Liar’s Club, which stayed on top of the bestseller list for over a year. Now she takes us behind the memoir craze, exploring the nuts and bolts of how a life can be reconstructed in prose.
Substitute: Going to School with A Thousand Kids
September 6 at 7 p.m.
Harvard Book Store, Cambridge, MA
The miniaturist of The Mezzanine, Vox, and Check Point became a substitute teacher for public schools in Maine. He was exposed to stressed-out students, obsolete teaching equipment, and weary colleagues. His latest nonfiction details his experiences dealing with the American public school system.
The Gatekeeper: Missy LeHand, FDR, and the Untold Story of the Partnership that Defined a Presidency
September 9 at 7 p.m.
Porter Square Books, Cambridge, MA
It’s a shame that there hasn’t been a biography yet of Missy LeHand, a crucial strategist and first female presidential chief of staff. With unprecedented access to original source materials, the journalist takes the reader through the life and times of the capable, loyal, and talented woman who helped change history.
The Hero’s Body: A Memoir
September 10 at 7 p.m.
Harvard Book Store, Cambridge, MA
The novelist, critic, and Poe enthusiast will read from his new memoir about growing up in the wake of his father’s motorcycle accident and the hyper-masculine body building ethos of his working class family and how all of these challenges taught him to survive through literature.
Noir at the Bar
September 11 at 7 p.m.
Osaka Restaurant, 14 Green St, Brookline, MA
Brookline Booksmith celebrates the classic American genre of noir fiction, with readings from crime fiction authors, raffle prizes, and straight bourbons available at the fine Japanese restaurant Osaka, conveniently located around the corner from the bookstore.
The Terror Years: From al-Qaeda to the Islamic State
September 12 at 6 (Doors open at 5:30)
Brattle Theatre, Cambridge, MA
$5 tickets, $29.75 for Ticket and Book
With numerous bestselling books of investigative journalism, Wright has established himself as an important voice in detailing world terrorism. His latest is a collection of pieces analyzing the growth of al-Qaeda into ISIS and what may follow globally afterward.
In Conversation with Steven Pinker
September 21 at 7 p.m. (Doors open at 6:30)
First Parish Church, Cambridge, MA
$26.25 Tickets include book
The venerable novelist comes to read from his latest novel, a typically cerebral tale of murder and deceit described by Publisher’s Weekly as “short, smart, and narrated by an unborn baby.”
September 23 at 6 p.m. (Doors open at 5:30)
Brattle Theatre, Cambridge, MA
$5 Tickets, $28 with ticket and book
The author of Room reads from her latest novel, which concerns an eleven year old who lives in a cabin and insists that she is living off of manna from heaven, which causes her to become a media sensation overnight.
— Matt Hanson