Friday, November 11, 2016

7 Life-Affirming Things to Do This Week in St. Louis

Posted By on Fri, Nov 11, 2016 at 6:01 AM

click to enlarge Compass Improv Festival comes to the Improv Shop beginning Friday.
  • Compass Improv Festival comes to the Improv Shop beginning Friday.

Current events got you down? You might want to think about immersing yourself in art this weekend. Whether it's the final days of the 2016 St. Louis International Film Festival, a wonderful theatrical meditation on wartime or just the kind of improv comedy that will make you El-Oh-El in spite of political developments, we highly recommend stepping away from the computer.

Here are our top seven picks of things to do other than cry into your beer.

1. See a show that our critic has raved about
Peter Rothstein's All Is Calm is perhaps the best Christmas entertainment ever conceived, bar none. There is no nostalgia nor false sentiment in this a capella musical about one of the spontaneous truces that broke across the front lines of World War I. Instead there is a sense of slowly dawning terror as the combatants on both sides realize the war they thought would be over before Christmas turns into a long, nightmarish slog into death. And then on Christmas Eve, they decide to lay down their arms and embrace each other — they chose amity over enmity, and just like that the war stopped ... for the moment. This will be the fourth and final time Mustard Seed Theatre performs All Is Calm, so do not miss it. There are a few new song arrangements and dialogue, and the cast is slightly different, but the heart of the show remains true. All Is Calm is presented at 8 p.m. Thursday to Saturday and at 2 and 5 p.m. Sunday (November 11 to December 4) in the Fontbonne Fine Arts Theatre (6800 Wydown Boulevard; www.mustardseedtheatre.com). Tickets are $30 to $35.

2. Be riveted by Dances of India
In the ancient world, cities often grew up near rivers, for the obvious benefit of having clean water nearby. In India, the nature of this relationship between people and water is sacred — all rivers are associated with goddesses. Among these is Saraswati, who is revered as the goddess of intelligence, creativity and wisdom. Called the mother of eloquent speech and melodious music, she's believed to be present at every confluence. It is the civilizing, poetic spirit of Saraswati that flows through Dances of India's 39th annual performance, The Music of Water — Tales of Adventure, Love and Magic Along India's Sacred Rivers. The group will present stories from the epic Mahabharata and other favorites from Hindu myth, as well as both a classical dance from south India and a piece that fuses contemporary style with a classic dance from northern India. The Music of Water is performed at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday (November 11 to 13) at the Skip Viragh Center for the Arts (425 South Lindbergh Boulevard; www.dancesofinidastlouis.org). As a special treat, Saint Louis Ballet will dance George Balanchine's Serenade at Friday's show. Tickets are $15 to $20.


3. Laugh your ass off at Compass Improv Festival

St. Louis' improv comedy scenes welcome the rest of the Midwest to town for the 2016 Compass Improv Festival. More than twenty teams perform, including the local all-woman group Casual Pussy, Chicago-based Devil's Daughter (they perform the iO's signature improv style, "The Harold"), and Louisville, Kentucky's Damaged Goods (a Compass Improv Festival favorite). The performance part of this year's festival takes place from 8 to 11 p.m. Thursday and 8 to 11:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday (November 10 to 12) at the Improv Shop (510 North Euclid Avenue; www.compassimprov.org) and at the Improv Shop Annex (4742 A McPherson Avenue). Tickets are $15 for each show. A series of seminars are also being offered for improv performers who wish to learn new skills or hone the ones they already have.


4. See some amazing sculpture at the Pulitzer

Italian sculptor Medardo Rosso was ahead of his time. Rather than creating heroic sculptures of figures from myth or doing a lucrative business in the monumental bronzes that were popular in the late nineteenth century, Rosso's sculptures seem to be caught emerging from bronze or wax. These almost-manifesting faces and forms are incredibly responsive to light, giving his work a fluid, ephemeral nature not often associated with sculpture. Medardo Rosso: Experiments in Light and Form, the new exhibition at the Pulitzer Arts Foundation (3716 Washington Boulevard; www.pulitzerarts.org), includes almost 100 examples of the artist's best work, including some of his photographs and drawings. Experiments in Light and Form opens with a free reception from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday, November 11. The show continues through May 13, and the museum is open Wednesday through Saturday. Admission is free.

Turn the page for more things to do this week in St. Louis, including interactive theater.

Best Things to Do In St. Louis

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