Just Do Art: Week of March 10, 2016
“THE MOSQUITO” AT DIXON PLACE | A familiar face on the nighttime tube (“China Beach,” “Law & Order”) and, more recently, as a cultural commentator on “CBS News Sunday Morning,” Nancy Giles excels at dishing out droll observations whose spice and bite don’t come with the unpleasant aftertaste left by cynicism. The woman knows how to pick her battles, and how to shape her material — qualities that come in handy when Giles is booking talent for “The Mosquito,” a monthly showcase at Dixon Place that conjures visions of an insect whose bite has lasting consequences, while making a cheeky reference to “The Moth,” that 800-pound gorilla of the storytelling circuit. Variety is what sets Giles’ showcase apart, with the host performing alongside a rotating cast of regulars (Pat Candaras, Cynthia Kaplan, Peri Gaffney, Kathryn Rossetter, Sheila Head, Susan Burns, Sue Giles, Nancy Shayne) offering monologues, stand-up, and music.
Free. Mon., Mar. 14, 7:30 p.m. in the cozy front lounge space at Dixon Place (161A Chrystie St., btw. Rivington & Delancey Sts.). Visit dixonplace.org or call 212-219-0736. Giles on Twitter: @nancygilesnyc.
AMORE OPERA PRESENTS DONIZETTI’S “POLIUTO” AND “THE ELIXIR OF LOVE” | Amore Opera continues its seventh season of presenting classic and overlooked operas, at prices well within the grasp of youth and senior members of the community. Directed by Nathan Hull and performed by multiple casts, this double bill of works by Gaetano Donizetti marks the first time “Poliuto” has been presented — in a full production, with full staging — in the United States, since 1859. The two-act tragic tale, based on Pierre Corneille’s 17th century play “Polyeucte,” dramatizes the life of Christian martyr Saint Polyeuctus. “The Elixir of Love,” aka Donizetti’s “L’Elisir d’Amore,” is based on the French comedy “Le Philtre” by Eugène Scribe, in which a con man convinces a poor peasant that the beautiful but indifferent object of his affection will come around, thanks to a magic potion (available for purchase, of course). Both productions, sung in Italian with English subtitles, have Italian conductor Daniele Tirilli holding the baton. In May, Amore Opera presents Verdi’s “Rigoletto,” as well a version of Gilbert and Sullivan’s operetta “Iolanthe,” cast entirely with children.
Fri., Mar. 11 through Sun., Mar. 20, at The Sheen Center (18 Bleecker St., at Elizabeth St.). For the schedule of performances and tickets ($45 general, $35 for seniors, students, children), visit sheencenter.org or call 212-925-2812. Artist info at amoreopera.org.
FAUX-REAL THEATRE’S “THE BACCHAE” | Greek theatre performed with “immersive abandon that closely approximates how these plays were first experienced” is the specialty of New York’s avant-garde Faux-Real Theatre — whose interpretation of Euripides’ 5th century tragedy casts its Greek chorus as a girl group, Dionysus as a “gender-bending and mercurial party god,” and its communal party as an uninhibited realm where nobody bats an eyelash at the sight of a titillating costume malfunction or a drunken goat dance.
Through Sun., Mar. 20: Thurs., Fri., Sat. at 7:30 p.m., Sun. at 2 p.m., at La MaMa (First Floor Theatre; 74A E. Fourth St., btw. Bowery & Second Ave.). For tickets ($18 general, $13 for students/seniors), visit lamama.org or call 646-430-5374. Artist info at fauxreal.org.
—BY SCOTT STIFFLER