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Upcoming arts events around Boston

Christopher Mckenzie

Inequality on the farm - FEN - Under the direction of Meg Taintor, this top-notch, well-acted, and timely production of Caryl Churchill’s 1983 play about the desperate lives of British farm workers, most of them women, powerfully drives home the human costs of a system that allows economic inequality to fester. Sound familiar? Pictured (from left): Jen O’Connor, Becca A. Lewis, and Lorna Nogueira. Through Feb. 4. Whistler in the Dark Theatre. At Factory Theatre, Boston. 800-838-3006, www.whistlerinthedark.com DON AUCOIN

THEATER

ART Despite its stilted dialogue, Yasmina Reza’s drama, in a production directed by Antonio Ocampo-Guzman, absorbingly frames some knotty questions about how well we really know those people we call our friends. With taut performances by Robert Walsh, Robert Pemberton, and Doug Lockwood. Through Feb. 5. New Repertory Theatre, Arsenal Center for the Arts, Charles Mosesian Theater, Watertown. 617-923-8487, www.newrep.org

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GREEN EYES As a play, this brief one-act by Tennessee Williams amounts to not much more than a fragment of an idea. But as an experience, it is something special, largely due to a spellbinding performance by Erin Markey as a newlywed who engages in erotic and psychological combat with her husband (Alan Brincks), a war-traumatized soldier convinced she cheated on him the night before. Through Feb. 12. Coproduction by Company One and the Kindness. At Ames Hotel, Boston.800-838-3006, www.brownpapertickets.com

DON AUCOIN

THE WIZARD OF OZ With its combination of freshness and familiarity, and a charming cast ably directed by James P. Byrne, this production is a perfect way to introduce children to the pleasures of live theater performance. ThroughFeb. 26. Wheelock Family Theatre, Boston. 617-879-2300, www.wheelockfamilytheatre.org

RED A magnetic performance by Thomas Derrah and deft direction by David R. Gammons make John Logan’s play, which could have been an intellectually stimulating art history lecture, a breathtaking, high-stakes, achingly human drama. Through Feb. 5. SpeakEasy Stage Company, Wimberly Theatre, Boston Center for the Arts. 617-933-8600, www.speakeasystage.com

TERRY BYRNE

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SUPERIOR DONUTS Tracy Letts’s latest Broadway play is about race relations on Chicago’s North Side, and specifically about how the aging-radical, Polish-American owner of the title doughnut shop and his young, energetic, African-American assistant become friends. There’s a dated aspect to the script, but it’s also very funny, especially in this lovingly detailed production, with Will LeBow and Omar Robinson leading a talented, mostly veteran cast. Though Feb. 4. Lyric Stage Company of Boston. 617-585-5678, www.lyricstage.com

JEFFREY GANTZ

DANCE

OYSTER This one’s a real eye-opener. Using music ranging from Leoncavallo and Harry James to Astor Piazzolla and Yma Sumac, Israeli dance-makers Inbal Pinto and Avshalom Pollak set the scene for a circus-like world of bewigged, white-faced acrobats and freakish characters. Celebrity Series of Boston presents the acclaimed 12-member company in its Boston debut. Feb. 3-4, $50-$60. Paramount Center Mainstage. 617-482-2595, www.celebrityseries.org

TALK ABOUT DANCE: LIFETIMES OF EXPERIENCE This Dance for World Community program brings together pillars of the area dance world to talk about how the art form has transformed their own lives as well as the culture at large. Panelists include De Ama Battle, Jeanne Beaman, Neena Gulati, and Lorry May, with Iris Fanger moderating. Listen and learn. Feb. 5, 2 p.m. Free. Sanctuary Theatre, Cambridge. 617-354-7467, www.ballettheatre.org

GOTTA DANCE ArtsEmerson’s ongoing survey of the American film musical offers a provocative two-fer, screening a pair of rare 16mm archival prints showcasing the African-American experience as portrayed on the silver screen. The 1929 “Hearts in Dixie,’’ which features Stepin Fetchit, is one of the earliest all-black Hollywood musicals. The 1938 “Swing!’’ is pioneering African-American director Oscar Micheaux’s take on the backstage musical - think “42nd Street.’’ Feb. 4. Single film $10, discounts for seniors and students; both films $15. Bright Family Screening Room, Paramount Center. 617-824-8400, www.artsemerson.org

SNEAK-PEEK OPEN REHEARSAL As Rainbow Tribe Inc., prepares for its 20th-anniversary alumni dance concert in March, the company is offering a rare behind-the-scenes glimpse of just what goes into putting it all together. The open rehearsal of “20in20’’ includes a chance to watch choreography in the process of creation as well as the opportunity to ask questions and provide feedback. Feb. 3, 7 p.m. Donation. Boston University Dance Theater. 617-769-9400, www.rainbowtribe.org

KAREN CAMPBELL

GALLERIES

THE CALENDER’S TALES: FANTASY, FIGURATION, AND REPRESENTATION The title references “The Arabian Nights,’’ and the exhibit presents contemporary artists who invent mythological beings, fantastic creatures, and personal avatars in order to challenge concepts of otherness. Through March 31. 808 Gallery, Boston University, 808 Commonwealth Ave. www.bu.edu/cfa/visual-arts

KATHY KISSIK: QUALIA Kissik’s mixed-media works combine her original photographs with found objects, plaster, paint, wood, and metal. Her tones are muted, her surfaces varied, and the art explores time’s passage, motion, and decay. Feb. 4-29. Alpha Gallery, 37 Newbury St. 617-536-4465, www.alphagallery.com

DANIEL FELDMAN: THIS SIDE UP The images in Feldman’s archival pigment prints seem to be of places - a partly demolished building, scissor stairs and glass partitions, water cascading into a site under renovation - yet something is oddly out of place. Through Feb. 25. Bromfield Gallery, 450 Harrison Ave. 617-451-3605, www.bromfieldgallery.com

STREET WALL An exhibit dedicated to artists who work on city walls to create public art. Each has been given a wall to work on. Artists include Zatara, Blackmath, Geoff Hargadon, The Phantom, Tiptoe, and Nanook, among others. Feb. 4-23. Fourth Wall Project, 132 Brookline Ave.www.fourthwallproject.com

CATE McQUAID

MUSEUMS

HISTORIES OF NOW: SIX ARTISTS FROM CAIRO Video and new media work by six artists responding to current events in Egypt, one year after the mass protests in Tahrir Square. The show includes a multichannel video installation by the late Ahmed Basiony, who represented Egypt at the 2011 Venice Biennale. Through March 17. School of the Museum of Fine Arts, 230 The Fenway. 617-267-6100, www.smfa.edu/egypt

DEGAS AND THE NUDE Edgar Degas’s career-long fascination with the nude is addressed for the first time in this ambitious exhibition organized by Degas expert and departing MFA curator George Shackelford. Through Sunday. Museum of Fine Arts. 617-267-9300, www.mfa.org

SHAPESHIFTING: TRANSFORMATIONS IN NATIVE AMERICAN ART A survey of Native American art, from historical objects to ambitious contemporary works. Through April 29. Peabody Essex Museum, Salem. 978-745-9500, www.pem.org

AFRICAN AMERICANS AND THE AMERICAN SCENE, 1929-1945 Exploring the role of African-Americans in the visual and performing arts during the Great Depression and World War II, the show includes work by Thomas Hart Benton, Walker Evans, Samuel Brown, and Jacob Lawrence. Through April 22. Williams College Museum of Art, Williamstown. 413-597-2429. wcma.williams.edu

SEBASTIAN SMEE
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