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Friday, January 27, 2017

8 Artsy Things to Do This Week in St. Louis

Posted By on Fri, Jan 27, 2017 at 6:17 AM

click to enlarge Little Thing, Big Thing comes to Avatar Studios this weekend. - TODD DAVIS
  • Little Thing, Big Thing comes to Avatar Studios this weekend.

Not every January weekend can be as blissfully warm as the one we got last week — but that's not reason to stay home. Stop by the RFT's brunch event for a host of delicious dishes under a single roof, see the new show at the Contemporary Art Museum, or check out one of the eight plays, readings and musical performances on this week's shortlist.

1. See a comic romp set in a convent
Larry is an ex-con who's been sent to steal a statue of the Virgin Mary from an abandoned convent. It ought to be an easy job, but he arrives at the scene of the crime just as Sister Martha shows up. She was sent from Nigeria to manage the sale of the property, and she's on guard for anything out of the ordinary. Before she left Africa a child shoved a roll of film in her hands and told her to get it to Henry Barr in Dublin, and to "trust no one." Before she and Larry can figure each other out, a small gang of thugs crashes the party, sending Larry and the nun on the run. Donal O'Kelly's play Little Thing, Big Thing is a suspenseful, comic romp with a touch of tenderness. Midnight Company stages the show at 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday (January 27 to February 11) at Avatar Studios (2675 Scott Avenue; Tickets are $15.

2. Explore what divides us at the Kranzberg
Amelia and Andile met when he kicked a ball into her backyard. Amelia lives in a tony suburb of post-apartheid South Africa, while Andile lives in one of the crowded and rundown townships on the outskirts of the city. Despite their cultural differences they strike up a friendship, the way eight-year-olds do, and it grows stronger over time. But South Africa has a way of separating white girls and black boys, even when they're friends. When the two unexpectedly meet again years later, how much of their shared past can they recreate? Joanna Evans' drama The Year of the Bicycle is about the things that divide white and black, friend and foe, and the past and the present. Upstream Theater presents the American premiere of The Year of the Bicycle at 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday (January 27 to February 11), with Sunday shows at 7 p.m. (January 29 and February 5) and 2 p.m. (February 12). Performances take place at the Kranzberg Arts Center (501 North Grand Boulevard; Tickets are $20 to $30.

3. See a new drama at the JCC
A seamstress who specializes in undergarments, Esther has a clientele that includes both prostitutes and society matrons. Her life is fairly constrained because of her race; as a black woman in 1905, she doesn't have many options. Still, Esther dreams of one day opening her own shop — and perhaps also of a relationship with Mr. Marks, the Jewish shopkeeper who sells her fabric. The pair definitely feel something for each other, but neither can safely pursue it. When she begins receiving letters from George, a friend of a friend, Esther considers altering her dreams to include marriage. The New Jewish Theatre continues its season with Lynn Nottage's drama Intimate Apparel. Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, 8 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday (January 26 to February 12) at the Jewish Community Center's Wool Studio Theatre (2 Millstone Campus Drive, Creve Coeur; Tickets are $39.50 to $43.50.

4. Check out a pair of classical guitarists at the Ethical Society

Not only are
Thomas Flippin and Christopher Mallett gifted classical guitarists, they're also self-appointed role models for aspiring musicians in at-risk communities. Flippin and Mallett toured nine St. Louis schools as Saint Louis Classical Guitar Society artists-in-residence in 2014, performing classical music for students and inspiring new classical guitar programs in three of those schools. Now more than a dozen schools in the St. Louis, Jennings, Ferguson-Florissant and Normandy districts are participating. The pair stage their triumphant return to St. Louis at 8 p.m. tonight at the Ethical Society (9001 Clayton Road, Ladue; Duo Noire, their nom de guitar, will premiere new works by Clarice Assad and Courtney Bryan, and probably charm another audience with their informed and engaging commentary on the music. Tickets are $24 to $28.

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