Theo Ubique presents Stephen Sondheim’s musical, set in 19th-century Italy, about a sickly woman obsessed with a young soldier. $34-$39http://www.theo-u.com/passion
There's an interesting impulse buried deep inside Shawn Bowers's version of The Bear. More often than not, Anton Chekhov's 1893 one-act comedy is seen as a cross between Beauty and the Beast and The Taming of the Shrew: a widow with a fierce stubborn streak seduces a brutish, bearish, misogynistic creditor by standing up to him. Bowers's idea, it seems, is simply to tear the thing to shreds and use the pieces to create an absurdist critique of love—maybe even human nature—itself. Well, he's torn it to shreds all right, but the result is shreds. The widow and the creditor are sick jokes, and in Amanda Lautermilch's staging for Adapt Theatre, absurdity gives way to an insufferable, mugging sort of hysteria. Every so often the script shows a stray flash of inspiration, and Laura Stephenson has some sexy-comic moves as the widow, but the show as a whole is 90 minutes of too much. —Tony Adler $10-$12http://adapttheatre.com
Halldor is so depressed he rarely gets out of bed. Johanna, his wife, is so depressed she obsesses endlessly over a looming elementary school teachers' strike. And Daniel, Johanna's therapist, drinks two glasses of wine at once while seducing Johanna in earshot of her husband. Through it all, three chirpy, know-nothing morning-television personalities—with their own twisted backstory—provide commentary, reenactments, and instructions for how to cook a leg of lamb. In this hour-long 2007 drama, Icelandic playwright Bjarni Jónsson shows only fleeting interest in the emotional truth of his characters' lives. The rest of the time, his script's incessant quirkiness trivializes real tragedy. Director Chad Eric Bergman's stylish, sure-footed production features an able cast who, understandably, can't make this muddle matter. —Justin Hayford $20http://akvavittheatre.org
Group exhibition of three-dimensional pieces featuring work from Mia Capodilupo, Matt Martin, Kasia Ozga, Daniel Schmid, and more.
Charles Dickens's 1859 novel, set during the Reign of Terror that followed the 1789 French Revolution, comes to the stage in a taut, suspenseful adaptation that captures the romantic idealism, dark humor, and social outrage that drive this ripping good yarn. Playwright Christopher M. Walsh and director Elise Kauzlaric hone in on the core of Dickens's sprawling story: the triangular relationship between a young Frenchwoman (daughter of a former political prisoner) and the two men who love her (a dissolute English lawyer and a French aristocrat trying to atone for his family's misdeeds). Designers Joe Schermoly (set) and Diane D. Fairchild (lights) have created a stylized minimalist environment that keeps the tale's frequent changes in locale clear, and the ten-member ensemble delivers intense, compelling performances. Particularly good are John Henry Roberts as the narrator; Carolyn Klein as the fierce, vengeful revolutionary Madame Defarge; and Josh Hambrock as Sydney Carton, the feckless Englishman who is redeemed by his self-sacrifice. —Albert Williams $40