Theater & art


The week ahead: Theater, galleries and museums

Liz Linder

Fanciful tale

SQUIRREL STOLE MY UNDERPANTS Talented performer-creator Bonnie Duncan brings her handmade puppets, fanciful sets, charming stage persona, and always imaginative flair to this family-friendly piece. April 13-14, 2 p.m. $10. Charlestown Working Theater, Charlestown. 866-811-4111,

Karen Campbell


BY THE WAY, MEET VERA STARK The charismatic Kami Rushell Smith excels as an African-American maid in the 1930s whose aspirations for a movie career collide with Hollywood’s insistence on racial stereotyping. Lynn Nottage’s snappy, inventive, and pointed satire is directed with assurance by Summer L. Williams, who has marshaled a stellar supporting cast. Through April 27. Lyric Stage Company. 617-585-5678,

OPERATION EPSILON A satisfyingly taut and well-acted production of Alan Brody’s fine, historically based new drama about German nuclear scientists held captive at the end of World War II in a British country house, where they confront — and evade — their moral responsibility. Directed by Andy Sandberg, with standout performances by Will Lyman, Diego Arciniegas, Ken Baltin, and Robert D. Murphy. Through April 28. Nora Theatre Company. At Central Square Theater, Cambridge. 866-811-4111,

Don Aucoin


PROOF “The machinery is working,” the mathematician exultantly tells his daughter. The character is referring to his mind, but he might as well be referring to David Auburn’s Pulitzer Prize-winning drama, which appears to be about the fragility of intellectual brilliance, but is more deeply about the jagged, seemingly unconnected pieces that come together to make relationships. Director Christian Parker supplies the requisite light touch here, anchoring his quartet of actors deeply in their characters. Through April 14. Merrimack Repertory Theatre, Lowell. 978-654-4678,

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THE IRISH . . . AND HOW THEY GOT THAT WAY Frank McCourt’s celebration, through story and song, of the Irish-American experience and a heritage that confronts adversity with determination, good humor, music, and a love of life. Through April 28. At Davis Square Theatre, Somerville. 800-660-8462,

Terry Byrne

MASTER CLASS Terrence McNally’s 1995 Tony Award winner about the demands of divahood is almost entirely dependent on the actress playing Maria Callas. Amelia Broome may not channel Callas, but she masters the role, giving a commanding performance, entertaining the audience with her wit, and coaxing some superb singing out of her students as she teaches a master class. Through April 21. New Repertory Theatre. At Charles Mosesian Theater, Arsenal Center for the Arts, Watertown. 617-923-8487,

Jeffrey Gantz


ANIKAI DANCE THEATER Wendy Jehlen’s trio “He Who Burns” combines disparate styles of dance, theater, music, and a variety of texts in English, Urdu, and Korean to explore the universal quest for the divine via the Islamic figure Iblis (a.k.a. the devil). Presented by two Harvard Pakistani student groups. April 12-13,
8 p.m. $25, $10 seniors and students. Farkas Hall, Harvard University, 10-12 Holyoke St., Cambridge. 617-496-2222,

Kendra Heithoff Henseler’s troupe presents “Refuge: short stories told through dance.” The concert examines the variety of ways in which we inhabit the notion of home. Participating choreographers include Henseler, Courtney Blanch, Michelle Deane, Jacqueline Mosca, Korinne Ritchey, Colleen Roddy, and Lacey Sasso. April 12-13,
8 p.m. $20, $18 seniors and students. Green Street Studios, Cambridge.


BELLYBEAT DANCE COMPANY Works by company founder and director Christina Ackley, ranging from belly dance to contemporary dance, anchor this new production, “Reflect.” Guest artists include dancers from Los Angeles (Jill Collins) and New York (Irina Akulenko) as well as drummer Tony Chamoun. April 13, 8 p.m. $25-$50. Boston University Dance Theater.

Karen Campbell


Two Washington D.C.-based artists examine how social media, branding, and sound bites have shifted the way the American populace does politics. Through April 25. Harbor Gallery, University of Massachusetts Boston, 100 Morrissey Blvd. 617-287-7988,

JOHN McQUEEN: RAILLERY Using such materials as willow branches, birch bark from the forest floor, and the occasional milk bottle, McQueen crafts free-standing sculptures and wall pieces. The figural and narrative-driven objects contemplate the human condition. Through May 11. Mobilia Gallery, 358 Huron Ave., Cambridge. 617-876-2109,

NEAL RANTOUL AND BRIAN KAPLAN: VIEWS FROM CAPE COD AND THE MASSACHUSETTS ISLANDS Two photographers view the Cape and Islands from different vantage points. Rantoul’s aerial photos abstract the line where land meets water. On the ground, Kaplan captures the Cape during its off-season. Through May 13. Panopticon Gallery, 502c Commonwealth Ave. 617-267-8929,

Cate McQuaid


BARRY MCGEE A mid-career survey of the popular San Francisco-based artist who has made a dynamic shift from street art into galleries and museums. Through Sept. 2. Institute of Contemporary Art. 617-478-3100,


SAMURAI! Japanese armor worn by shoguns, or warlords, from the 12th to the 19th centuries. Tuesday through Aug. 4. Museum of Fine Arts. 617-267-9300,

An exhibition of 70 objects, including seven superb screens, examining the fascinating relationship between Portugal and Japan in the 16th and 17th centuries. Through June 2. McMullen Museum of Art, Boston College. 617-552-8100,

“Todd McKie: Just When You Thought It Was Safe to Look at Art Again.”

PER KIRKEBY: PAINTINGS AND SCULPTURE Expressionist work by one of Denmark’s best-known artists in a show, the first Kirkeby retrospective in the United States, organized by the Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C. Through July 14. Bowdoin College Museum of Art, Brunswick, Maine. 207-725-3275,

Sebastian Smee

‘Safe’ art

TODD McKIE: JUST WHEN YOU THOUGHT IT WAS SAFE TO LOOK AT ART AGAIN The painter returns with his trademark simple figures, razzle-dazzle colors, and awkward, sly narratives, which betray a compassion, and even an affection, for human foibles. Pictured: “Vacationing on Venus.” Through April 20. Gallery NAGA, 67 Newbury St. 617-267-9060,

Cate McQuaid