The Night of the IguanaTennessee Williams' account of a defrocked minister on the verge of a nervous breakdown is another of the playwright's fantastical works that is grounded in autobiography. Less than a decade after this play's Broadway premiere in 1961, Williams suffered his own breakdown and nearly died in Barnes Hospital. Although he would write several plays after Iguana, this was his final success, and Reverend Shannon (played here by Matt Timme), the earthy Maxine Faulk (Kelslan Scarbrough) and the ethereal Hannah Jelkes (Maria Tholl) are his last three indelible characters. In a production directed by Doug Finlayson, all three give heartfelt performances. "I am thoroughly exhausted," the student in front of me announced to his companion at the end of the volatile evening. And why not? This nigh-operatic account is an energy-sapper; Williams wouldn't want it any other way. Performed by the Webster University Conservatory of Theatre Arts through October 14 at the Emerson Studio Theatre in the Loretto-Hilton Center, 130 Edgar Road, Webster Groves. Tickets are $10 ($5 for students, seniors and Webster alumni; free for Webster students and staff). Call 314-968-7128 or visit www.webster.edu.
Quidam (Cirque du Soleil)Quidam melds the Cirque package of circus, dance, music and theater with a suggestive story line that allows the audience to create as much plot as they desire. Or if you'd rather, you can ignore the story and just enjoy the show: a huge spinning wheel becomes a thrilling exploration of centrifugal force; four girls playing with diabolos (a.k.a. Chinese yo-yos) show amazing ingenuity and dexterity; a group of twenty acrobats create mind-boggling combinations with jump ropes. Swings, hoops, ropes and long ribbons of fabric suspend performers from the five conveyor rails that run along the ceiling of the Grand Chapiteau (that's "Big Top," for the culturally deprived). Standing out among outstanding performances are clown Guillermo Toto Castineiras and the "Statue Vis Versa" duet, in which Jerome LeBaut and Asa Kubiak use strength and balance to support each other in seemingly impossible poses. Through October 22 at the UMB Bank Pavilion parking lot, off I-70 at the Earth City Expressway. Tickets are $35 to $70 (discounts for children, students and seniors). Call 514-790-1245 or 800-678-5440 or visit www.cirquedusoleil.com.