Theater & art

Week ahead: Theater

Bertrand Guay/Big Apple Circus

Acro-Duo Alexei Ani-kine and Vitaliy Prikhodko in “Big Apple Circus: Luminocity.”

Striking the right balance

BIG APPLE CIRCUS: LUMINOCITY Times Square comes to City Hall Plaza as the annual visitors in this hybrid newfangled/old-school circus bring their current show to town. It’s a bustling intersection of crane-your-neck marvels — “free ladder” stuntman, teeterboard acrobats — and comic diversions such as a flimflam man and a world-class clown in a Gilligan hat. Through May 11. At Boston City Hall Plaza. 888-541-3750, www.bigapplecircus.org

JAMES SULLIVAN

THEATER

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THE SEAGULL Director Maria Aitken deftly mines the vein of humor that runs alongside the currents of melancholy in Anton Chekhov’s play before shifting decisively to the much darker mood of its final act. Her cast, led by the estimable Kate Burton and fortified by such Boston stalwarts as Thomas Derrah and Nael Nacer, proves capable of sustaining Chekhov’s tricky blend of drollery and anguish. Through April 6. Huntington Theatre Company. At Boston University Theatre. 617-266-0800, www.huntingtontheatre.org

THE WHALE The protean John Kuntz is riveting as a nearly 600-pound man who is marooned in his own body but determined to connect with his estranged teenage daughter in Samuel D. Hunter’s prize-winning drama, directed by David R. Gammons. Through April 12. SpeakEasy Stage Company. At Roberts Studio Theatre, Calderwood Pavilion, Boston Center for the Arts. 617-933-8600, www.speakeasystage.com

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DON AUCOIN

BRUNDIBÁR & BUT THE GIRAFFE! Tony Kushner’s adaptation of the 1942 children’s opera by Hans Krása and Adolf Hoffmeister could never be less than chilling, given that Krása and most of the children who performed it at the Nazi concentration camp in Terezín were subsequently shipped off to Auschwitz. But Underground Railway Theater gives the story of two kids seeking milk for their ailing mother an upbeat performance, and the bully of the piece, the title character, isn’t too scary. The first half of the 90-minute evening is an original Kushner play about a Jewish girl whose family is being transported to Terezín (“Someplace nice,” her mother calls it) and who’s being asked to leave her beloved stuffed giraffe behind in order to make room for her uncle’s copy of the “Brundibár” score. Through April 6. Underground Railway Theater at Central Square Theater, Cambridge. 866-811-4111,www.centralsquaretheater.org

JEFFREY GANTZ

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TALLEY’S FOLLY Lanford Wilson’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play traces an unlikely romance built on a fragile foundation of hope. The Merrimack Repertory Theatre’s heartwarming production unfolds with steady determination, breaking through any jaded cynicism with a touching commitment to life’s possibilities. The beauty of this production is the way director Kyle Fabel and his performers build little moments of connection between two characters who didn’t dare think they could find happiness. Through April 13. Merrimack Repertory Theatre, Lowell. 978-654-4678, www.mrt.org

TERRY BYRNE

DANCE

THE SHAPE SHE MAKES Choreographer Susan Misner, playwright/director Jonathan Bernstein, and a cast of 10 fuse movement and dialogue in this intriguing theatrical hybrid that explores the continual impact of childhood experiences on our adult lives via the story of a young girl and a substitute teacher. April 5-27. $25-$55. American Repertory Theater at Oberon, Cambridge. 617-547-8300, www.americanrepertorytheater.com

RAMA VAIDYANATHAN The Peabody Essex Museum commissioned the renowned Bharatanatyam dancer (who the government of Sri Lanka honored with the title “Jewel of India”) to create a special series of dances to live music for its weekend “Sensational India!” festival. April 5, noon. Free with $10-$18 museum admission. Peabody Essex Museum, Salem. 978-745-9500, www.pem.org

PARALLEL LINES Two Boston-based troupes — Company Four and Six One Seven Dance Collective — join forces for an evening of modern dance that explores “beauty, life, loss and triumph.” The 90-minute concert includes choreography by Courtney Blanch, Meredith Edelstein, and Kendra Heithoff-Henseler, among others. April 4-5. $20. Green Street Studios, Cambridge. 617-864-3191, www.parallel-lines-dance.com

DANCE PRISM What better way to introduce the wee ones to dance than through a ballet tailored especially for them based on a beloved children’s story? “Variations on Make Way for Ducklings” is an original ballet based on Robert McCloskey’s familiar tale of Mr. and Mrs. Mallard and their brood trekking to the Public Garden. The performance is followed by a reception with balloons and treats. April 5, 2:30 p.m. $18-$24. J. Everett Collins Center for the Performing Arts, Andover. 978-371-1038, www.danceprism.com

KAREN CAMPBELL

GALLERIES

LAURA LETINSKY: CREASES TURN SOUR This photographer’s still lifes take a meta turn: Her compositions include real objects, her own photos, and images torn from glossy shelter and food magazines. What’s real? What’s a flattened picture? Letinsky toys with our perceptions. Through May 17. Carroll and Sons, 450 Harrison Ave. 617-482-2477, www.carrollandsons.net

SURGE: INTERACTIVE ART Artist Deb Todd Wheeler has teamed with mathematician Michael Nagle and engineer Bec Conrad to create visual displays of energy buildings consume daily. This interactive work springs from streaming data about the Babson campus. Through May 20. Hollister Gallery, Babson College, 231 Forest St., Wellesley. 781-239-5888, www.babson.edu/student-life/arts-culture/Pages/home.aspx

MARY BUCCI McCOY: NEW PAINTINGS Bucci McCoy’s small paintings hinge on the materiality of the paint, how it flows, how it dries, and how her spontaneous actions impinge upon it. Color matters, but the works are catalyzed by substance. Through April 27. Kingston Gallery, 450 Harrison Ave. 617-423-4113, www.kingstongallery.com

CATE MCQUAID

MUSEUMS

KNIGHTS! A first step in the long-term integration of the Higgins Armory’s collection into Worcester Art Museum, this exhibition places a selection of European, Asian, African, Middle Eastern, Indian, and Ancient arms and armor in the context of related works of art. Worcester Art Museum, Worcester. 508-799-4406, www.worcesterart.org

HANS OP DE BEEK: STAGING SILENCE (2) The Belgian artist presents a riveting 20-minute video in black and white, which shows the systematic construction and deconstruction of different environments using various sleights of hand. Through Sunday. List Visual Arts Center. 617-253-4680, listart.mit.edu

PERMISSION TO BE GLOBAL/PRACTICAS GLOBALES: LATIN AMERICAN ART FROM THE ELLA FONTANALES-CISNEROS COLLECTION The first survey of contemporary Latin American art hosted by the MFA. Featuring work by 46 artists from Central and South America and the Caribbean, all from a single collection. The show was first seen at Art Basel Miami Beach late last year. Through July 13. Museum of Fine Arts. 617-267-9300, www.mfa.org

NATALIE DJURBURG + HANS BERG: A WORLD OF GLASS An installation of 193 polyurethane sculptures, on four tables, and four compelling (if somewhat eye-popping: it’s not suitable for young children) Claymation video projections by the Swedish artist Djurburg, with accompanying music by the Swedish composer Berg. Through July 6. Institute of Contemporary Art. 617-478-3100, www.icaboston.org

SEBASTIAN SMEE

Colorful ‘Gardens’

ARLINE FISCH: HANGING GARDENS This jeweler crosses toward textiles with her array of long-stemmed blossoms suspended from the ceiling, and her hot-toned, ruffled jewelry pieces based on corals, all made of color-coated copper wire, machine-knit and crocheted. Through June 30. Mobilia Gallery, 358 Huron Ave., Cambridge. 617-876-2110, www.mobilia-gallery.com

CATE MCQUAID

Don Aucoin can be reached at aucoin@globe.com.
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