Play by play: July 17, 2009

Plays from A to Z
By JEFFREY GANTZ  |  July 15, 2009

OPENING
AFTER THE QUAKE | Company One presents Tony-winning adapter (for The Grapes of Wrath, in 1990) and director Frank Galati's play, which is adapted from two stories from Haruki Murakami's After the Quake, a collection set in Japan in 1995 between the Kobe earthquake and the poison-gas attacks in the Tokyo subway. In one of those stories, "Honey Pie," a shy man whose would-be sweetheart was swept away by his best friend (but they're now divorced) regales her daughter with the tale of a six-foot frog who's out to save Tokyo. Shawn LaCount directs. | Boston Center for the Arts Plaza Theatre, 539 Tremont St, Boston | 617.933.8600 | July 17–August 15 | Curtain 7:30 pm Wed-Thurs | 8 pm Fri-Sat | 2 pm Sun | $30-$38; $30 seniors; $15 students; $18 Wed; pay-what-you-can [minimum $6] Sun

AURELIA'S ORATORIO | The cirque nouveau pioneer and Charlie Chaplin's daughter, Victoria Thierrée Chaplin, directs her daughter, Aurélia Thierrée, in a 70-minute dream scenario that has its rough-hewn and magical sequences, among them an opener in which Thierrée emerges limb by lissome limb from a chest of drawers. At its best, the show recalls the ones on which Thierrée cut her teeth, her parents' (dad is French clown Jean-Baptiste Thierrée) Le Cirque Imaginaire and Le Cirque Invisible. But the performer (who is abetted by dancer Jaime Martinez) lacks her mother's prodigious circus skills, and it is the most imaginative of the illusions that stick with you in this whimsical offering for the whole family. | Loeb Drama Center, 64 Brattle St, Cambridge | 617.547.8300 | July 22–August 2 | Curtain 7:30 pm Tues-Thurs | 8 pm Fri-Sat | 3 + 7:30 pm Sun | $25-$75; 10 percent discount seniors

BLAME THE WOLF | Hailing from the Aida Refugee Camp in Bethlehem, the Al-Rowwad Theatre Troupe, which recently performed for Pope Benedict XVI, brings to Cambridge this original play "adapted from a familiar children's fairy tale to reveal the experiences and lessons of Palestinian life." Howard Zinn introduces the performance. | Central Square Theater, 450 Mass Ave, Cambridge | 617.576.9278 | July 17 | Curtain 7:30 pm Fri | $10, doors only

THE BREATH OF LIFE | Gloucester Stage artistic director Eric C. Engel helms this 2002 David Hare play about two women who once shared the same man and are now trying to reconcile. Local luminaries Nancy E. Carroll and Paula Plum play the roles originated by Judi Dench and Maggie Smith at the Theatre Royal in London. | Gloucester Stage Company, 267 East Main St, Gloucester | 978.281.4433 | July 23–August 2 | Curtain 8 pm Wed-Fri | 3 + 8 pm Sat | 4 pm Sun | $32-$37

CREATING CLAIRE | Cape Cod Theatre Project continues its season of summer staged readings with Joe DiPietro's "exploration of the supernova that results when science, faith, and politics collide." Oscar nominee Barbara Barrie (Breaking Away, Suddenly Susan), Celia Keenan-Bolger (Tony for The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee), Johanna Day (Tony nominee for Proof) and Matthew Arkin (Drama Desk nominee for Dinner with Friends) star; Christopher Ashley (artistic director of the La Jolla Playhouse and director of Xanadu, All Shook Up, and Memphis on Broadway) directs. | Falmouth Academy, 7 Highfield Drive, Falmouth | 508.457.4242 | July 16-18 | Curtain 8 pm Thurs-Sat | $20; $10 students

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