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The week ahead: Theater, galleries, and museums

Gretjen Helene/American Repertory Theater

Life-changing journey

WITNESS UGANDA Griffin Matthews plays himself in this musical treatment of a story drawn from his own life — about his journey to Uganda to help build a school, only to learn the charity behind the project is a sham. The show is a joyous, wrenching experience. The script, which Matthews co-wrote with composer/partner Matt Gould, skips lightly through the preliminaries, all the better to work up to an emotional chokehold. Rousing dance breaks prove a perfect complement to Gould’s richly layered music, which ranges from street calls to a killer gospel choir. Diane Paulus directs this world premiere. Pictured (left to right): Griffin Matthews, Michael Luwoye, Kristolyn Lloyd, Tyrone Davis, Jr., Jamar Williams, Nicolette Robinson Through March 16. American Repertory Theater, at Loeb Drama Center, Cambridge. 617-547-8300, www.americanrepertorytheater.org

Sandy MacDonald

Theater

THE FLICK Annie Baker (“The Aliens,’’ “Circle Mirror Transformation,’’ “Body Awareness’’) again demonstrates her uncanny ear and her empathy for lost souls in this group portrait of three employees at a fading moviehouse in central Massachusetts. Alex Pollock, Brenna Fitzgerald, and Peter Andersen deliver first-rate performances, and director Shawn LaCount, who helmed “The Aliens’’ a few seasons back, shows a sure grasp of the idiosyncratic Baker idiom. Through March 15. Company One Theatre in collaboration with Suffolk University. At Modern Theatre at Suffolk University, Boston. 800-440-7654, www.companyone.org

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THE CHERRY ORCHARD An exquisite production of Chekhov’s final play, directed by Melia Bensussen. She draws finely detailed performances from her cast of 12, led by Marya Lowry as an aristocratic landowner in danger of losing her estate and her beloved cherry orchard, and Steven Barkhimer as a businessman who is offering her a way out. Through March 9. Actors’ Shakespeare Project, at Dane Estate, Pine Manor College, Chestnut Hill. 866-811-4111, www.actorsshakespeareproject.org

NEIGHBOURHOOD WATCH A sharp production, directed by David J. Miller, of Alan Ayckbourn’s dark satire about British residents of a suburban development who let power go to their heads after they form a crime-watch group, with catastrophic consequences. Through March 1. Zeitgeist Stage Company, at Plaza Black Box Theatre, Boston Center for the Arts. 617-933-8600, www.zeitgeiststage.com

INTIMATE APPAREL Lynn Nottage’s quietly affecting portrait of Esther, a black seamstress in 1905 New York who is trying to construct a life of fulfillment and meaning amid circumstances that make it an uphill struggle. Sensitively portrayed by Mia Ellis as a blend of pragmatism and romantic longing, outward self-possession and inward struggle, Esther is a fully realized character of a kind — unheralded, undervalued, the cog rather than the big wheel — that we don’t often see onstage. Directed by Janice Duclos. Through March 2. Trinity Repertory Company, at Dowling Theater, Providence. 401-351-4242, www.trinityrep.com

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DON AUCOIN

Dance

KATE WEARE COMPANY This Brooklyn, N.Y.-based company had to postpone its Boston debut last year due to dancer injury, so we’ll keep our fingers crossed this time. Weare’s company brings her acclaimed “Garden” and excerpts from the new, erotic “Dark Lark.” Feb. 28-March 1. $40. World Music/CRASHarts, Institute of Contemporary Art. 617-478-3103, www.worldmusic.org

TAO DANCE THEATER The Celebrity Series presents the Boston debut of this modern dance troupe from Beijing. Founded in 2008, the troupe’s experimental bent in collaborations with Chinese music, film, and visual-arts trailblazers makes it a radical exponent of the country’s young contemporary dance scene. Feb. 27-28. $60-$75. Citi Shubert Theatre. 617-482-6661, www.celebrityseries.org

I AM HERE NOW Zoe Dance presents this ambitious concert in which dance and live-capture video by Callie Chapman Korn surround the audience. The work explores how we layer experience upon the “blank slate” of the body. Feb. 28, March 2, 21, 23. $15-$20. Dance Complex, Cambridge. 617-547-9363, www.zoedance.org

THIRD LIFE CHOREOGRAPHERS SERIES This periodic showcase features an especially strong and wide-ranging slate of performer/creators, from the exuberant tap of Ryan Casey to work by the Dance Complex’s new executive director, Peter DiMuro. The concert also includes pieces by David Sun, Company Four, Luminarium Dance Company, Rowan Salem, and Marija Krtolica from New York City. Feb. 28, 8 p.m. $15-$20. Third Life Studio, Somerville. 617-628-0916, www.brownpapertickets.com

KAREN CAMPBELL

Galleries

JON IMBER: PAINTING UP A STORM Imber, whose movement is increasingly impaired by ALS, is still painting dashing, heartfelt portraits, still lifes, and landscapes. Coming in March, he has shows at Alpha Gallery and Danforth Art. Through March 21.Chandler Gallery, Maud Morgan Arts, 20A Sacramento St., Cambridge. 617-349-6287, www.maudmorganarts.org

ALBERTO AGUILAR: LIVING ARRANGEMENT Aguilar brings a painter’s eye to his sculptural installations, blends of still life and portraiture that he assembles from objects found in the homes of his subjects, including deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum curator Dina Deitsch. Through March 29. Steven Zevitas Gallery, 450 Harrison Ave. 617-778-5265, www.stevenzevitasgallery.com

THE EVENT OF THE LINE In the hands of Ben Sloat, a line is more than a simple gesture. The conceptual artist and curator organized this group show, in which lines break through boundaries, tie things together, and shake them up. Through April 12. Drive-By Projects, 81 Spring St., Watertown. 617-835-8255, www.drive-byprojects.com

THERESA-INDIA YOUNG Work by the fiber artist, whose passion was indigenous textiles. She died in 2008. Also: work by Emma Welty, first recipient of MassArt’s ethnic weaving scholarship established in Young’s honor. Through March 21. President’s Gallery, Massachusetts College of Art and Design, 621 Huntington Ave. 617-879-7333, www.massart.edu

CATE MCQUAID

Museums

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

JOHN BISBEE: NEW BLOOMS Large-scale, floral-inspired sculptures made from twisted and welded nails by Bisbee, a sculptor-in-residence at Bowdoin College in Maine. Through May 26. Shelburne Museum, Shelburne, Vt. 802-985-3346, www.shelburnemuseum.org

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

SEBASTIAN SMEE

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