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Critics’ picks: Theater

AN ILIAD

Denis O’Hare gives a mesmerizing solo performance in this vernacular adaptation of Homer’s epic poem. Directed by Lisa Peterson, it connects the story of the Trojan War to what history tells us about humanity’s bottomless capacity for violence, leaving us shaken not just by a sense of war’s horror and absurdity, but also by its inevitability. Through May 4. ArtsEmerson and Homer’s Coat. At Paramount Center Mainstage. 617-824-8400, www.artsemerson
.org
Don Aucoin

POOL (NO WATER)

Mark Ravenhill’s darkly disturbing 2006 play has no water and also no characters, no location, and no staging instructions — it’s just the recollection of what happened when a group of artists tried to make art, and money, out of the accident that befell their most successful member. But this intimate and imaginative production, directed by Danielle Fauteux Jacques, is filled with life and love (as well as nudity and a lot of expletives). Through May 4. Apollinaire Theatre Company. At Chelsea Theatre Works, Chelsea. 617-887-2336, www.apollinairetheatre
company.com

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SHE KILLS MONSTERS
The “she” in Qui Nguyen’s 2011 fantasy is 15-year-old Tilly Evans, who kills Dungeons & Dragons monsters. Actually, Tilly’s dead, killed in a car crash with her parents, but her older sister, Agnes, finds Tilly’s D&D notebook and enters the game in order to reconnect with her sibling. Real-life sisters Jordan Clark and Paige Clark Perkinson play Tilly and Agnes in this high-spirited, swordplay-filled production, and their chemistry is palpable. Through May 11. Company One. At Plaza Theatre, Boston Center for the Arts. 617-933-8600, www.companyone.org

Jeffrey Gantz


SCHOOLHOUSE ROCK LIVE!
With a spirited ensemble performing songs written for the animated shorts that ran on Saturday morning TV in the 1970s and ’80s, this show is the perfect treat for the 5- to 10-year-old set and their Gen X parents. Directed by Burgess Clark. Through May 5. Boston Children’s Theatre. At Roberts Studio
Theatre, Boston Center for the Arts. 617-933-8600, www.bostonchildrenstheatre.org

THOROUGHLY MODERN MILLIE
At a moment when we’ve been all too focused on events unfolding in the real world, this production of the 2002 musical (based on the 1967 movie) is a wonderfully entertaining immersion into escapism. Director-choreographer Ilyse Robbins knows the focus needs to be on the singing and dancing, and, wow, does her company deliver. Through May 12. Stoneham Theatre. 781-279-2200, www.stoneham
theatre.org

PIPPI LONGSTOCKING
The unconventional title character defies expectations, and so does director Wendy Lement’s frothy stage version of the classic children’s book. Lement’s approach focuses on joy and whimsy, with a whole lot of chances to dance, dance, dance. Through May 12. Wheelock Family Theatre.
617-879-2300, www.wheelockfamilytheatre.org

Terry Byrne

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