Theater & art
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    Critic’s picks: Theater

    Andrew Brilliant/Brilliant Pictures

    IMAGINING MADOFF

    Deborah Margolin’s speculative leap into the inner life of her notorious subject results in an engrossing drama of ideas whose intellectual and metaphysical gymnastics are a perfect match for the skills of Jeremiah Kissel (pictured), who plays the title role, and for his costars, Joel Colodner and Adrianne Krstansky. Directed by Elaine Vaan Hogue. Through Jan. 26. New Repertory Theatre, at Black Box Theater, Arsenal Center for the Arts, Watertown. 617-923-8487, www.newrep.org

    WE ARE PROUD TO PRESENT A PRESENTATION ABOUT THE HERERO OF NAMIBIA, FORMERLY KNOWN AS SOUTHWEST AFRICA, FROM
    THE GERMAN SUDWESTAFRIKA, BETWEEN
    THE YEARS 1884-1915

    A powerfully unsettling production of Jackie Sibblies Drury’s drama, directed by Summer L. Williams, about a group of actors rehearsing a “presentation’’ about Germany’s merciless slaughter of the Herero people, seen as the first genocide of the 20th century. On a small, personal, and chilling scale, the production illustrates the ways that one segment of a population can be denied their humanity because another segment has lost their own. Through Feb. 1. ArtsEmerson and Company One Theatre, at Jackie Liebergott Black Box Theatre, Emerson/Paramount Center. 617-824-8400, www.artsemerson.org

    VENUS IN FUR

    David Ives’s psychosexual pas de deux is brought to spellbinding life by Andrea Syglowski as a mysterious actress auditioning for a part in a new play and Chris Kipiniak as an arrogant playwright-director who is in for a few surprises. Directed by Daniel Goldstein. Through Feb. 2. Huntington Theatre Company, at Boston University Theatre. 617-266-0800, www.huntingtontheatre
    .org

    THE COLOR PURPLE

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    Director Paul Daigneault brings his usual vitality and dexterity to this musical adaptation of Alice Walker’s story about a woman who somehow emerges with her identity and spirit intact despite years of abuse. The strong cast includes Lovely Hoffman as Celie, Maurice Emmanuel Parent as Mister, and Crystin Gilmore as Shug Avery. Through Feb. 8. SpeakEasy Stage Company, at Wimberly Theatre, Boston Center for the Arts.
    617-933-8600, www.speakeasystage.com

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