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Upcoming arts events around Boston

‘Fire’ dancers BOSTON BALLET SHOWS AND TELLS Boston Ballet artistic director Mikko Nissinen, the company’s resident choreographer Jorma Elo, and a cadre of dancers offer a sneak peek at the upcoming “Play With Fire’’ program, followed by discussion. The performance includes excerpts from Elo’s “Sharp Side of Dark,’’ Christopher Bruce’s “Rooster,’’ and Jirí Kylián’s “Bella Figura.’’ Jan. 26, 7 p.m. Free. Tsai Performance Center. 617-353-6467, www.bu.edu/tsai; Jan. 27, 7 p.m. Free. Harvard Dance Center, Cambridge. 617-495-8683, www.ofa.fas.harvard.edu KAREN CAMPBELL Gene Schiavone


SUGAR Robbie McCauley’s solo show about diabetes and race is a lyrical and stirring journey through the world she found and the world she made, in the theater and elsewhere, while coping with a condition that sometimes sapped her energy but never her spirit. Through Jan. 29. Presented by ArtsEmerson in collaboration with the performing arts department at Emerson College. At Jackie Liebergott Black Box, Paramount Center, Boston. 617-824-8400, www.artsemerson.org

ART Despite its arch and 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


GREEN EYES As a play, this brief one-act work 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 (an intense 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

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 dramatizes the human costs of a system that allows economic inequality to fester. Sound familiar? Through Feb. 4. Whistler in the Dark. At Factory Theatre, Boston. 800-838-3006, www.whistlerinthedark.com

THE ROCKY HORROR SHOW When you’re Ryan Landry, nothing succeeds like excess, which makes him just about perfect in the role of Dr. Frank N. Furter, the pansexual transvestite/mad scientist/alien who gleefully debauches a pair of young innocents. Through Jan. 27. Presented by Oberon and the Gold Dust Orphans. At Oberon, Cambridge.866-811-4111, www.cluboberon.com



THE VOICE OF THE TURTLE John Van Druten’s unapologetic 1943 romance unfolds as a lovely antidote to cynicism. The era of the play is World War II, but universal themes and unpretentious performances make these sympathetic characters feel remarkably contemporary. Through Jan. 29. Merrimack Repertory Theatre, Lowell. 978-654-4678, www.merrimackrep.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. 4. SpeakEasy Stage Company, Wimberly Theatre, Boston Center for the Arts. 617-933-8600, www.speakeasystage.com


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. It’s feel-good, and 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



2X IN A LIVING ROOM AND A KITCHEN In this promising fusion of movement, sound, and performance art, Mobius Artist Group collaborators Yuka Takahashi, Sara June (movement/visuals), and Max Lord (electronics) explore the concept of how functional living space impacts human interaction. The work is part of “100 Years (version #4 Boston, 2012),’’ an exhibition of performance art over the past century organized by MoMA PS1. Jan. 28, 2 and 4 p.m. Free. Boston University Art Gallery. 617-353-3329. www.bu.edu/art


UNLUCKY IN LOVE The Boston Babydolls are calling their saucy new show a “romantic burlesque cabaret,’’ which revolves around a naïve male writer trying to craft a guide to modern romance. Leave it to the Babydolls to fill in the holes in his knowledge of women with vignettes combining dance, live music, magic, comedy, and, oh yeah, striptease. Mature audiences only. Jan. 27-Feb. 14. $25-$45. Davis Square Theatre, Somerville. 617-869-2000, www.bostonbabydolls.net



100 YEARS (VERSION #4, BOSTON, 2012) Performance art has played a vital role in modern and contemporary art. This show traces the history of the form, featuring more than 200 works including film, photography, documents, and audio. Through March 25. Boston University Art Gallery, 855 Commonwealth Ave. 617-353-3329, www.bu.edu/art

“Ghost artist” by Daniel Davidson.

SHAME/LESS Seven artists probe issues of shame and shamelessness in various forms: gluttony, lust, vanity, weakness. The show asks: Can the artists’ shameless display of private fears, failings, and vulnerabilities make a viewer feel shame less? Participants include Steve Locke and Tory Fair. Through March 2. FPAC Gallery, 300 Summer St. 617-423-4299, www.fortpointarts.org 


JOEL JANOWITZ, ANNE LILLY Here’s an unexpected pairing. Janowitz makes deliciously watery paintings and prints that seem to refract and layer light. Lilly, a kinetic sculptor, carefully engineers sleek, stainless steel works that shift perception of time and space. Through March 4. Main Gallery, Art Institute of Boston, 700 Beacon St. 617-585-6600, www.aiboston.edu/galleries

BOSTON DOES BOSTON V Every year, Proof Gallery asks three Boston artists to choose another local artist to exhibit with. This year’s show features Andrea Sherrill Evans, Faith Johnson, Maria Molteni, Jennifer Moses, Susan Scott, and Alice Vogler. Through Feb. 25. Proof Gallery, 516 E. Second St., South Boston. www.proof-gallery.com



DEGAS AND THE NUDE Edgar Degas’s career-long fascination with the nude - mostly female but also male - is addressed for the first time in this ambitious exhibition organized by Degas expert and departing MFA curator George Shackelford. Through Feb. 5. Museum of Fine Arts. 617-267-9300, www.mfa.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, among many others. Through April 22. Williams College Museum of Art, Williamstown. 413-597-2429, wcma.williams.edu

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


FROM THE LAND OF THE IMMORTALS: CHINESE TAOIST ROBES AND TEXTILES A selection of 18th and 19th century Taoist priests’ robes and textiles from the museum’s collection. The show coincides with an exhibition of Taoist paintings at nearby Brown University’s Haffenreffer Museum. Through April 22. Rhode Island School of Design Museum of Art, Providence. 401-454-6500, risdmuseum.org