A couple's home life is disrupted when they're joined by feuding in-laws in Marshall Karp's comedy. $20http://theatreinthewoods.net
After being proposed to by a charming man, a woman must figure out if the marriage is a plan to take over her inheritance. $23, $10 for students
What's not said is as important as what is in Julia Cho's spare, moving tale about a linguist suddenly finding himself at a loss for words when his marriage starts to falter. That makes it perfect for theater, as director Polly Noonan ably shows in this well-paced, finely acted production. Noonan's five-member cast, led by Paul Fagen and Abigail Boucher, reveal the richness of Cho's script in every gesture and silence; Fagen in particular communicates a universe of unexpressed sorrow in his impotent pauses. —Jack Helbig $15-$35
The Smithsonian Institute's traveling exhibit features illustrated banners, photographs, and audio excerpts from former Bracero workers. Reception Thu 2/20, 6-8 PM include the Mexican Consul General of Chicago and a dozen former Bracero workers.
An international photography exhibition curated by Martha Schneider. Reception Sat 3/1, 5-8 PM.
Among the uncountable curiosities that cycle and recycle through social media is a page of historic black-and-white photographs somebody colorized, apparently to remind us that people like Charles Darwin and Mark Twain didn't live their lives in monochrome—that they once had flesh-toned skin and stylishly dyed clothes, just like us. The point is obvious, but the effect is still remarkable. People we're used to seeing as chronologically remote are suddenly comprehensible as warm-blooded souls. A little of their grandness is lost, maybe, but a lot of their humanity is restored. Writers Theatre has achieved pretty much the same effect with Hedda Gabler, Henrik Ibsen's 1891 drama about a young bourgeois married woman whose boredom and anger lead her to play reckless games. Continue reading >> $35-$70
Celebrity portrait photography by Edward Steichen and Andy Warhol.
The star attraction is John Mahoney as Dan, a retired laborer who can't get over the death of the woman he's loved for 30 years. But it's Penny Slusher who provides all that's worthwhile in this world premiere staging of a hokey two-hander by Irish playwright Christian O'Reilly. Slusher plays Betty, an aging divorcee with nothing but a brood of cats (19 of them and "counting," she says) to take the edge off her loneliness. Literally running into Dan at the vet's, she sets about bringing both him and herself back to life. If only she could do the same for the show as a whole. Between the formulaic script and a miscast Mahoney, however, that's impossible. Still, Slusher enlivens her every moment onstage with a bittersweet ebullience that bubbles over every so often into little dances of everyday transcendence. When Betty dons a ridiculous red party dress and asserts that she looks lovely in it, we have to admit she's right. --Tony Adler $25-$72
The life and work of the South African civil rights activist is explored through personal photographs and letters, as well as newspaper articles and excerpts from her speeches.
"Ruth Gruber: Photojournalist" is a slightly misleading title for an exhibit opening this weekend at the Illinois Holocaust Museum. Gruber, who turned 102 last September, worked for more than half a century as a photographer, and even longer as a writer—but she considered her articles and photos merely tools for a larger project. "She believed if she could tell stories, that would affect people and make them advocate for change," says Maya Benton, who curated the traveling show for the International Center for Photography. "She understood the power of the right story and the right photo and her ability to choose the image to make people do something." Continue reading >>
A collection of art created by two activist groups formed in the 1930s: the John Reed Club and the American Artists' Congress. Reception 1/18, 2 PM.