By Heidi Masek email@example.com
• Two from Brecht: German playwright and poet Bertolt Brecht (1898-1956) created a revolution in theater in the 20th century. He used it as a tool to push the audience to think critically, rather than escape into a story line, according to the International Brecht Society. The Winni Players, the community theater company portion of the Winnipesaukee Playhouse, produce Brecht’s The Caucasion Chalk Circle from May 16 through May 25. In it, a traveling singer tells the tale of a baby abandoned by the wife of a governor executed in battle. A peasant girl, Grusha rescues the baby. After the war, the real mother wants to claim the child and the decision is left to a judge. The tale is told to two groups of Russian peasants both claiming the same land following World War II. Original music for this production has been written by Gilford resident Kyle Nickerson. Mo Demers plays the traveling singer, and Elizabeth Stockbridge of Plymouth plays Grusha. Neil Pankhurst directs. The 20 cast members portray 90 characters.
Performances are Fridays and Saturdays at 7 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. at the theater at Routes 11B and 3, Weirs Beach, Laconia. Call 366-7377 for tickets or see www.winniplayhouse.com.
The New Hampshire Theater Project’s Senior Youth Repertory Company has spent the past six months studying Brecht’s theater. They produce Mother Courage and Her Children, a play that “questions the distinctions between war, business and morality,” according to the company. Composer Agnes Charlesworth of Kittery has created original music and Dr. Paul Mroczka of Plymouth State University orchestrates a percussion ensemble. Genevieve Aichele directs. Her awards include the Governor’s Award for Excellence in Arts in Education in 2001. The show runs May 16 through May 25 at 7 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, and at 2 p.m. Sundays, at 959 Islington St. in Portsmouth. Ticket costs range from $15 to $22. Call 431-6644 or see nhtheatreproject.org.
• Gershwin tunes: The Majestic Theatre finishes up its annual dinner theater series with “A Gershwin Portrait.” The revue of George and Ira Gershwin tunes features an ensemble cast directed by A. Robert Dionne and Carole Neveux. Dinner theater tickets cost $30 for the shows Friday, May 16, and Saturday, May 17, at 7:30 p.m., and $27 for Sunday, May 18, at 1 p.m. at 281 Cartier St. in Manchester. Dinner is by chef Matthew T. Morin. Call 669-7469 or visit www.majestictheatre.net.
• Raising dollars: Have an extra $75? Well, if you do, you can visit the annual Palace Gala fundraiser. This shindig to raise money for the nonprofit Palace Theatre in Manchester, Thursday, May 15, at 6 p.m., features food from local restaurants like 900 Degrees, and of course, the Van Otis chocolate fountain. It all happens at the Manchester Country Club with entertainment from the cast of Pippin, the Palace’s current professional show. See www.palacetheatre.org or call 668-5588.
• Short attention spans and beer: Image Theater focuses on bringing the original work of area playwrights to the stage, and frequently does so at pubs. Tales From a Tavern is a series of seven short plays by locals Karla Sorenson, Janet Kenney, Lonnie Farmer, Robert Boulrice, George Sauer, Peter M. Floyd and Erik Sherman and will be performed upstairs at The Old Court Pub at 29 Central St. in Lowell, Mass. See the plays, Friday, May 16, at 8 p.m.; Saturday, May 17, at 8 p.m.; Friday, May 23, at 8 p.m., or Saturday, May 24, at 4 or 8 p.m. Tickets cost $19. Visit www.Imagetheater.com or call (978) 441-0102..