Play by play: December 25, 2009

By JEFFREY GANTZ  |  December 23, 2009

SLEEP NO MORE | The second entry in the American Repertory Theater's mini-season of revisionist Shakespeare is presented by the London troupe Punchdrunk at the Old Lincoln School in Brookline Village; entering as part of a group, you're handed a white mask and invited to explore the four floors of the environment in any way you choose. The mood is set by World War II ballads and Bernard Herrmann's music from Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo, and by the dim lighting and the creepy venue. Everyone's experience will be different; ours included the banquet in the school auditorium, a strobe-lit Black Sabbath in the basement, a stroll through Birnam Wood, and an unsettling version of Lady Macbeth's sleepwalking scene where she's attended by a nurse in a hospital ward. | Old Lincoln School, 194 Boylston St, Brookline Village | 617.547.8300 | Through January 3 + January 14–February 7 | Curtain through January 3: 7 + 7:20 + 7:40 pm Tues-Thurs [no Christmas Eve] + Sun | 7:20 + 7:40 + 8 pm Fri-Sat [no Christmas Day] | Curtain January 14–February 7: 7 + 7:20 + 7:40 pm Thurs-Sun | $35-$39

TRU GRACE | Underground Railway Theater presents a holiday double bill of Grace Paley's The Loudest Voice and Truman Capote's A Christmas Memory. Both plays are set in the 1930s. In the first, nice Jewish girl Shirley's great voice lands her the plum role in the school play — which just happens to be a Nativity play; in the second, Truman recalls making fruitcakes with his older cousin and exchanging kites as presents and how the two of them treated themselves (and the family dog, Queenie) to the whiskey left over from the fruitcakes. Wesley Savick directs. | Central Square Theater, 450 Mass Ave, Cambridge | 866.811.4111 | Through December 27 | Curtain 2 + 8 pm Sat | 2 + 7 pm Sun | $35; $25 seniors; $20 students; $15 children


BLUE MAN GROUP | The Drama Desk Award–winning trio of cobalt-painted bald pates begin their delightful and deafening evening of anti–performance art beating drums that are also deep buckets of paint, so that sprays of color jump from the instruments like breaking surf, and end by engulfing the spectators in tangles of toilet paper. | Charles Playhouse, 74 Warrenton St, Boston | 617.931.ARTS | Indefinitely | Curtain this week: 2 + 5 + 8 pm Mon | 1 + 4 + 7 + 10 pm Tues | 2 + 5 + 8 pm Wed | 2 + 5 pm [Christmas Eve] or 4 + 7 + 10 pm [New Year's Eve] Thurs | 2 + 5 + 8 pm [New Year's Day] Fri | 1 + 4 + 7 + 10 pm Sat-Sun | $48-$62; $30 student rush

THE DONKEY SHOW | Diane Paulus & Randy Weiner's disco-set riff on A Midsummer Night's Dream is an hour-long work set in the Studio 54–inspired environs of Club Oberon and framed by episodes of Saturday Night Fever in which you may or may not choose to star. The dramatis personae include Dr. Wheelgood, a gold-lamé-clad Puck on roller skates; club owner Mr. Oberon, who's out to humiliate his haughty diva girlfriend, Tytania; desperately yearning or cockily dismissive lovers Helen, Dimitri, Mia, and Sander; and a twin couple of ruffle-shirted, Afro-coiffed dudes both named Vinnie. Ingeniously double-cast, sexily supple, and screeching into headsets, they join the paying crowd (a small minority of whom occupy tables in a cabaret area that also sees action) for an immersive night of hedonism and hustle driven by the pounding beat and melodramatic passions of disco hits from the 1970s. | Oberon, Mass Ave + Arrow St, Cambridge | 617.547.8300 | Indefinitely | 10 pm [doors @ 9 pm] Thurs [special New Year's Eve performance, with post-show party till 2 am] | 8 pm Fri [January 1] | 8 + 10:30 pm Sat | $25-$49; $45-$75 New Year's Eve

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