Head North

See the Wonder of the World

Mar 3, 2004 at 4:00 am
Remember that time your girlfriend found out about your secret fetish for doing unmentionable things to Barbie doll heads, and she ran off and got all raunchy with that Niagara Falls tour-boat captain, and the private eye you hired tracked her down? And then everything went horribly, horribly wrong when all of you -- the private eye, your girlfriend, the captain and your favorite Barbie head -- sort of crashed into each other in that motel room, your egos and ids smashing together in some vaguely Greek tragicomic explosion of private thoughts and secret feelings? And there was a clown, too, remember that? And do you remember how you thought, "I'm simultaneously glad no one else knows about this and sad that there isn't some way to convey the sheer insanity of what just happened so that others could learn the danger of keeping their innermost selves secret from those they profess to love and trust"?

Well, guess what? That is almost exactly the plot of David Lindsay-Abaire's very adult comedy (adult in subject matter, not like XXX movie; let's try to keep it aboveboard, you Barbie head-humping freak), Wonder of the World. Even better, it's being performed by the Fontbonne University theater department, under the direction of RFT theater critic Deanna Jent. Now you have the opportunity to watch it all unfold from a safe distance, so you can see where you made your mistakes. This way, the next time you need to get your swerve on with Barbie's disembodied head, you can simply tell your significant other that you're going into the other room to exercise your adult, sexual rights. Then drop the needle on Chocolate Factory and bring it home to Barbie.

Wonder of the World is performed at 8 p.m. from March 4 through 6, and at 2 p.m. on March 6 and 7 at the theater at Fontbonne University (6800 Wydown Boulevard, 314-889-1425). Tickets are $10, and reservations are recommended. -- Paul Friswold

Glass Act
Stray Dog Menagerie

Tom: I left Saint Louis. I descended the steps of this fire escape for a last time and followed, from then on, in my father's footsteps, attempting to find in motion what was lost in space.

See, the whole nobody-ever-leaves-St.-Louis thing has been happening for a long time -- Tennessee Williams published that last line of The Glass Menagerie 49 years ago!

To figure out how Tom -- Menagerie's dirt-poor protagonist with the dysfunctional family dragging him down -- finally managed to skedaddle, attend Stray Dog Theatre's staging of the modern classic (March 5 through 21, 8 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and 3 p.m. on Sundays) at Saint Louis University's Manresa Center (4012 Washington Boulevard). Tickets cost $12 to $15 and can be reserved in advance by calling 314-531-5923. -- Rose Martelli

Sleepers, Awake!

Who knew that Sleeping Beauty and Prince Charming had real names? It turns out she's Princess Aurora, and he's Prince Desire. Those are awesome names, sorta "fairy-tale-meets-diva" in nature. Imagine what other unknown pleasures you'll discover when you attend locally based Alexandra Ballet's production of the Tchaikovsky classic Sleeping Beauty at 2 or 7:30 p.m. Saturday, March 6, or 2 p.m. Sunday, March 7, at the Touhill Performing Arts Center (8001 Natural Bridge Road, 314-516-4949). With new choreography by Marek Cholewa and guest dancers Jinny Campbell (as Princess Aurora) and Ogulcan Borova (as Prince Desire), this Sleeping Beauty is sure to surprise you, even if you already knew that the wicked fairy is named Carabosse. Tickets are $19 to $29. -- Paul Friswold

Life Is Like Rancid Borscht

Anton Chekhov could be considered a 17th-century Russian version of toothy motivational speaker Anthony Robbins. Through his comic satires, Chekhov strove to inspire people to look fully at their existence and make the needed adjustments. Said the playwright: "Please, understand that your lives are bad and dreary!" You'll have an opportunity to see how bad and dreary your life really is when the Echo Theatre Company presents Chekhov's tragicomic masterpiece Uncle Vanya at the Soulard Theatre (1921 South Ninth Street, known formerly as the Soulard Preservation Hall) March 5 through 21, Thursdays through Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 3 p.m. Tickets are $12 to $15. For more information, call 314-995-2123. -- John Goddard