Play by play: May 7, 2010

Theater listings, May 7, 2010
By JEFFREY GANTZ  |  May 4, 2010

OPENING
BLITHE SPIRIT | The Noël Coward play that takes its name from the first line of Percy Shelley’s “To a Skylark” “Hail to thee, blithe spirit!”) closes out the Lyric Stage’s season. Novelist Charles Condomine is looking for book material when he invites Madame Arcati to conduct a séance in his home, but what he gets instead is the ghost of his first wife, Elvira, who decides to stick around and critique his second marriage. Ruth, of course, can’t see or hear Elvira, so she doesn’t know who her husband’s talking to. The attractive cast includes Richard Snee, Paula Plum, Anne Gottlieb, Kathy St. George, Arthur Waldstein, Sarah deLima, Anna Waldron; Lyric artistic director Spiro Veloudos is at the helm. | Lyric Stage Company of Boston, 140 Clarendon St, Boston | 617.585.5678 | May 7–June 5 | Curtain 2 pm [May 12, June 2] + 7:30 pm Wed | 7:30 pm Thurs | 8 pm Fri | 3 + 8 pm Sat | 3 pm [no May 30] Sun | $25-$54

“EMERGING AMERICA” | This collaborative effort of the American Repertory Theater, the Huntington Theatre Company, and the Institute of Contemporary Art is being described as “an annual festival devoted to supporting and launching new voices in American theater.” It’ll start Friday at the ICA with Disfarmer at 7:30 pm and then the festival kickoff party at 9:30 pm. On Saturday, there’s a double bill of Amy Herzog’s Love Song in Two Voices and Steven Levenson’s Seven Minutes in Heaven at the BCA’s Calderwood Pavilion (1 + 4 pm) and then a series at Club Oberon in Harvard Square: Mrs. Smith Presents . . . a Benefit for the Carlyle Foundation Empowerment School for People and Cats with Severe and Persistent Challenges, by David Hanbury and Michael Goldfried, and featuring Ryan Landry (4 pm); Live from the Edge, a fusion theater piece created by the multidisciplinary Universes ensemble (6 pm); Particularly in the Heartland, a piece created by the NYC-based TEAM ensemble (8 pm); Post-Living Ante-Action Theater (Club Remix), created by My Barbarian, an LA-based performance collective (10:15 pm); and the ART’s The Donkey Show in a special midnight edition. On Sunday, the Huntington will host a festival brunch with live music (noon–2:30 pm), and then it’s back to Club Oberon: an encore performance of Particularly in the Heartland (4 pm); Vicious Dogs on Premises, created by Witness Relocation (6:15 pm); an encore performance of Live from the Edge (8 pm); and finally a festival featuring Decode, the creation of Salvatore LaRussa Dance Theatre. Throughout the weekend, the festival tent will be open outside Club Oberon. | emergingamericafestival.org | May 14-16 | ticket prices vary; see Web site

FAMILY STORIES | Whistler in the Dark closes its fifth season with Serbian playwright Biljana Srbljanovic’s 1998 work, which uses a quartet of adult actors playing children playing house to paint a grotesque Punch & Judy portrait of trickle-down, war-numbed life under corrupt, nationalist dictator Slobodan Milosevic. The play, which got its North American premiere from Cambridge’s short-lived Market Theatre back in 2002, is episodic and somewhat repetitive, and the attempt to override cruel comedy with tragedy at the end feels forced. But like its harsh, adult-mocking pubescents playing Donna Reed on a dung heap, Family Stories packs a punch. Meg Taintor directs; Melissa Barker, Danny Bryck, Nate Gundy, and Jen O’Connor are in the cast. | Factory Theatre, 791 Tremont St, Boston | May 14-30 | Curtain 7:30 pm Wed-Thurs | 8 pm Fri-Sat | 3 pm Sun | $20; $10 students

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