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Critics’ picks: Theater


THE NEXT THING FESTIVAL A 10-day extravaganza of theater, film, music, and artist workshops that aims to be “a high-energy tour of contemporary performance,’’ in the words of David Dower, ArtsEmerson’s director of artistic programs. Among the offerings will be the New York City Players’ production, directed by Richard Maxwell, of “Vision Disturbance,’’ a play by Christina Masciotti about the relationship between a divorced Greek immigrant and the ophthalmologist who treats her unusual eye disorder (Feb. 20-23). The Debate Society will present “Blood Play,’’ which unfolds at a cocktail party in suburban Chicago in the early 1950s (Feb. 21-23). Boston’s Sleeping Weazel will present Kenneth Prestininzi’s “Birth Breath Bride Elizabeth’’ in which an academic named Mary Shelley-Breath delivers what is described as “a crackpot lecture gone awry’’ for young brides (Feb. 22-23). Director Daniel Fish and five actors will draw on audio recordings of the late novelist David Foster Wallace for “A (radically condensed and expanded) Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again’’ (Feb. 22-24). Through Feb. 24. ArtsEmerson. At Paramount Center. 617-824-8400,


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