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The week ahead: Theater, galleries, and museums

T. Charles Erickson

Full flight

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 (above, with Don Sparks) 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

DON AUCOIN

Theater

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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

DON AUCOIN

HELLO AGAIN Michael John LaChiusa’s 1994 musical is based on Arthur Schnitzler’s 1897 sexual roundelay, in which one member of each coupling goes on to the next scene. Schnitzler’s play takes place in 1890s Vienna; LaChiusa sets each of his 10 scenes in a different decade of 20th-century America. That’s a challenge for a small theater company, but Bridge Repertory Theater makes “Hello Again” into an exuberant cabaret piece, with the action occasionally, though not obtrusively, spilling over into the audience, and the cast finding tender subtleties in the relationships. Through March 29. Bridge Repertory Theater of Boston. At Hall A, Calderwood Pavilion, Boston Center for the Arts. 617-933-8600, www.bridgerep.wordpress.com

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 (“some place 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

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 two performers build little moments of connection between characters who didn’t dare to think they could find happiness. Through April 13. Merrimack Repertory Theatre, Lowell. 978-654-4678, www.mrt.org

TERRY BYRNE

DANCE

SYNCHRONICITY & THE SACRED SPACE Weber Dance reprises this evocative 2011 work, which plays off the storytelling of adventurer Jon Turk to explore the different ways Western and non-Western cultures perceive and experience the world. The concert also offers a sneak peak at a company work-in-progress. March 28-29. $20-35. Multicultural Arts Center, Cambridge. 617-577-1400, www.weberdance.org

PERCEPTIONS Rainbow Tribe, Inc.’s 12th annual concert showcases the dancers of its three ensembles — Tribe, The Dance Company; the all-male Bside; and Embrace. Using dance styles ranging from African and jazz to modern dance and hip-hop, this family-friendly event urges audiences to look beyond the surface. What we see is not always all there is. March 29, 2 & 8 p.m. $20-$25. Boston University Dance Theater. 617-769-9400, www.brownpapertickets.com

THE BANG GROUP For this final “Head Over Heels” presentation, David Parker’s talented New York crew performs his hilarious “ShowDown,” a sendup of “Annie Get Your Gun,” along with three new commissions from talented veteran choreographers from Boston — Lorraine Chapman, Kelli Edwards, and Nicole Pierce. March 28. $10-$20. Oberon, Cambridge. 617-547-8300, www.americanrepertorytheater.org

DANCE PROGRAM SPRING PERFORMANCES How lucky are Harvard University’s dance students to have the chance to work with world-renowned choreographers Aszure Barton and Dwight Rhoden? We’ll see the results in this concert featuring works by the two artists-in-residence and by Dance Director Jill Johnson. March 27-29. $5-$10. Farkas Hall, 10-12 Holyoke St., Cambridge. 617-496-2222, www.boxoffice.harvard.edu

KAREN CAMPBELL

GALLERIES

W-O-R-D-P-L-A-Y Text sets different wheels spinning in the brain than images do. This show spotlights language-based photographic works drawn from sources such as signs, handwritten letters, and books, by artists Abelardo Morell, Jim Fitts, Stephen Sheffield, Mimi Youn, and more. Through June 9. Panopticon Gallery, 502c Commonwealth Ave. 617-267-8929, www.panopticongallery.com

LEONARD NIMOY: SECRET SELVES The erstwhile Mr. Spock is in three photo exhibits this spring, at the Griffin Museum, at 555 Gallery, and at BU, with this project for which Nimoy invited models to pose as their “secret selves.” Through May 9. Sherman Gallery, Boston University, 775 Commonwealth Ave. 617-358-0295, www.bu.edu/cfa

ANEET R. FONTES: Y SIN EMBARGO, TE QUIERO (AND YET, I STILL LOVE YOU) The Cuban painter and printmaker has been living in Miami for two years, but she remembers Havana in her photographic paintings steeped in reflections of the city. Through April 27. Galería Cubana, 460 Harrison Ave. 617-292-2822, www.lagaleriacubana.com

CATE MCQUAID

MUSEUMS

MIKA ROTTENBERG: BOWLS BALLS SOULS HOLES Dazzling, wildly fanciful and tautly constructed video installations that combine chutes, shafts, bingo balls, big bodies and much more by the US-based artist born in Buenos Aires and raised in Israel. Through June 8. Rose Art Museum, Waltham. 781-736-3434, www.brandeis.edu/rose

AN AMERICAN IN LONDON: WHISTLER AND THE THAMES Printings, paintings, and drawings from a key period in Whistler’s career, as he focused on subjects in Battersea and on the Thames, in London. Through April 13. Addison Gallery of American Art, Andover. 978-749-4015, www.andover.edu/Museums/Addison

WILLIAM KENTRIDGE: THE REFUSAL OF TIME A 30-minute, five channel video installation by the South African artist, providing a meditation on the pressure of time and the attempt – both political and existential – to escape it. A collaboration with Philip Miller, Catherine Meyburgh, and Peter Galison. Complemented by a selection of Kentridge’s works on paper. Through May 4. Institute of Contemporary Art. 617-478-3100, www.icaboston.org

MACHINES AND MECHANIZATIONS: EXPLORATIONS IN CONTEMPORARY KINETIC SCULPTURE A survey of sculpture with moving (and often audible) parts, including work by Kim Bernard, Christ Fitch, Erica von Schilgen, and Mark Davis. Through June 1. Fuller Craft Museum, Brockton. 508-588-6000, fullercraft.org

SEBASTIAN SMEE

A piece from the Jo Ann Rothschild exhibit.

Addition by abstraction

JO ANN ROTHSCHILD: AN IMPORTANT DAY An abstract painter, Rothschild makes expressive canvases that convey intimacy and urgency. Each one is a conversation — sometimes tense, sometimes fluid — of gestures and tones, of space and form. Through April 26. Hallspace, 950 Dorchester Ave. (No phone), www.hallspace.org

CATE MCQUAID

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