Play by play: August 14, 2009

By JEFFREY GANTZ  |  August 11, 2009

SPEECH AND DEBATE | Stephen Karam's 2007 Off Broadway hit, which the Lyric Stage Company of Boston put on this past spring, comes to Wellfleet Harbors Actors Theater. Set in the chalkboard crucible of high school as well as in the pioneer tangles of the cyber universe, the comedy brings together a trio of disparate, initially distrustful misfits variously shanghai'd into the activity of the title — a high-school staple since 1925. They eventually bond, but with a minimum amount of saccharin spilled and every step of their mutually antagonistic journey played out as a National Forensics League–sanctioned competition category, from "Lincoln-Douglas Debate" to "Duo Interpretation" — this last featuring a time-travel encounter between a singing, jiving Mary Warren from The Crucible and a gay, teenage Abraham Lincoln. Don't ask. But trust us, it's hilarious. | Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theater, Harbor Stage, 1 Kendrick Ave [next to town pier], Wellfleet | 508.349.WHAT | August 19–September 27 | Curtain 7:30 pm Wed-Sun | $29


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 — "Honey Pie" and "Superfrog Saves Tokyo" — 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 Galati's fusion, Junpei, the struggling novelist still yearning for the woman who married his more confident college chum and wrapping that love into the comfort he offers her quake-freaked child, becomes the author of the fantastical tale of the debt collector galvanized by the ninja amphibian to heroic action, if only in his dreams. Thus the actor who plays Frog narrates the tale of the writer as the writer narrates his. And as the ribbiting Rambo, Michael Tow, squatting and darting in green-streaked leather jacket and verdant rubber gloves, is a combination superhero and authorial stand-in, as likely to quote Nietzsche or Conrad as to gild a lily pad. Shawn LaCount directs a production that only occasionally crosses the line between punchy surrealism and cartoon | Boston Center for the Arts Plaza Theatre, 539 Tremont St, Boston | 617.933.8600 | Through August 15 | Curtain 7:30 pm Thurs | 8 pm Fri-Sat | $30-$38; $30 seniors; $15 students

BLOOD RELATIONS | Flat Earth Theatre presents Sharon Pollock's 1980 drama about Lizzie Borden and her ax. Lizzie's parents, Andrew and Abigail, were murdered in their Fall River home back in 1892, and though Lizzie went on trial for the crime, she was acquitted. So, did she do it? | Arsenal Center for the Arts Black Box Theatre, 321 Arsenal St, Watertown | 800.838.3006 | Through August 15 | Curtain 8 pm Thurs-Sat | $15; $10 students, seniors

CANDIDE | Leonard Bernstein's 1956 "comic operetta" based on the Voltaire novella comes to the Berkshires, complete with the famous Overture, the "Glitter and Be Gay" coloratura aria for Cunégonde, and, of course, "Make Our Garden Grow." The original libretto was by Lillian Hellman, but it's since been replaced by a book by Hugh Wheeler; Richard Wilbur, Dorothy Parker, Stephen Sondheim, and Bernstein himself contributed to the text. | Berkshire Theatre Festival Unicorn Theatre, Main St, Stockbridge | 413.298.5576 | Through August 15 | 2 pm Thurs | 8 pm Fri | 2 + 8 pm Sat | $19.28-$68

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Related: Play by Play: July 3, 2009, Play by play: July 10, 2009, Play by play: September 4, 2009, More more >
  Topics: Theater , Entertainment, Abraham Lincoln, Dorothy Parker,  More more >
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