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Wednesday, April 23, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 37.0° F  Fair

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Forward Theater finds farcical fun in Or, a tale about spy-turned-playwright Aphra Behn

The new Forward Theater Company production, Or, is set in Restoration England, but it's no fussy costume drama -- not by a long shot. Rather, it's a saucy and smart finish to the company's fifth season. During the opening night performance, the three-person cast quickly won over the audience with fine comic timing. The production runs through April 13 at Overture Center's Playhouse. >More
 Chazen Museum's Changing Hands displays modern takes on Native American traditions

The latest exhibition by the Chazen Museum is a mammoth one, with an equally mammoth title: Changing Hands: Art Without Reservation 3, Contemporary Native Art from the Northeast and Southeast. The traveling show organized by New York's Museum of Arts and Design runs through April 27. That long, dry title is ultimately a little misleading; there are several artists from the Upper Midwest, including two Madisonians -- but that's no matter. >More
 MMoCA's Real/Surreal blurs the lines between two contrasting art movements

The Madison Museum of Contemporary Art examines how surrealism and realism might not be total opposites in Real/Surreal, a traveling exhibition on loan from New York's Whitney Museum of American Art (through April 27). This is a terrific show that challenges us to see familiar artists -- and some lesser-known ones -- in a new light. >More
 Forward Theater Company's Red is a tightly focused production about art, age and self-absorption

While artists can be notoriously temperamental -- at least in the popular imagination -- the Mark Rothko in John Logan's 2010 Tony winner, Red, could win a prize for it. Self-righteous, rabidly opinionated and obsessed with what place he will occupy in art history, Rothko paces around his New York studio like a tiger in a too-small pen at the zoo. >More
 The Chazen offers a fascinating glimpse of contemporary Japanese art

One of the great things about art is how it can reflect not only an artist's own time and experiences, but also enter into a dialogue with the history of art itself. A single work can call to mind a whole web of images and allusions. >More
 Chazen Museum's Mithila Painting shows how adaptable a traditional Indian art form can be

It's been a strong year of exhibitions for the UW's Chazen Museum of Art, and there is a little time left to catch one of its most intriguing and unexpected offerings. Mithila Painting: The Evolution of an Art Form (through Dec. 1) features a style of painting that's unfamiliar to many. But even if it's new to you, you'll quickly be drawn in by intricate, stylized works with themes ranging from Hindu deities to contemporary social and political issues. >More
 Forward Theater Company's Sons of the Prophet explores how two siblings make sense of physical and emotional pain

Some plays have an unfortunate tendency to package life a little too neatly: set-up, conflict, tidy resolution. No one can accuse Stephen Karam's Sons of the Prophet, a 2012 Pulitzer Prize finalist for drama and the kickoff to the fifth season at Forward Theater Company (through Nov. 24), of such a sin. >More
 Wisconsin Triennial 2013 offers samples of our state's finest contemporary works

Visual artists in Wisconsin grapple with the often-solitary nature of making their work, plus a limited number of venues in which to show it. Viewing art offers the hope of discovering a new and compelling take on the world, the thrill of finding something one hasn't seen before. >More
 American Players Theatre's Antony & Cleopatra takes creative risks in the indoor Touchstone Theatre

When American Players Theatre, beloved for its open-air amphitheater, opened an intimate, indoor stage in 2009, company leadership gave several reasons for the new direction. It wasn't only about staging plays that would likely draw smaller crowds, but also about keeping core company staff creatively engaged and able to take risks. You could say that the Spring Green theater's new adaptation of Shakespeare's Antony & Cleopatra (through Oct. 20) is one of those creative risks. >More
 American Player Theatre's Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead attacks thorny questions with humor and verve

"We are entitled to some direction," says Guildenstern, one half of a tragicomic duo, in the first act of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead. The American Players Theatre production of Tom Stoppard's existential riff on Hamlet (through Oct. 5) opened Saturday night in the Spring Green company's outdoor amphitheater. >More
 Locavore lit: Summer brings novels to savor by Madison authors Susanna Daniel and Kelly Harms

One of the pleasures of living in Wisconsin is its bounty of delights for locavores, from hoppy microbrews to rich cheeses and brilliantly colored produce at farmers' markets. But why limit yourself to just eating locally? It's rewarding to be a literary locavore, too. There's a fresh crop of books by Madison authors out this summer, including new titles by Susanna Daniel and Kelly Harms. >More
 A taste of the life with the Madison Writers' Studio

Budding writers have a chance to learn from Susanna Daniel and fellow Madisonian Michelle Wildgen (author of You're Not You, But Not for Long and the forthcoming Bread and Butter) through their new joint venture, the Madison Writers' Studio. Classes begin this fall at both authors' homes and will include narrative nonfiction and two levels of fiction writing. >More
 Gifts of the Ebb Tide highlights some of the Chazen Museum's finest Japanese prints

Every museum collection has its particular strengths. Local lovers of Japanese prints " or elegant design in general " are lucky that the UW Chazen Museum of Art has significant holdings of high-quality prints. The museum is showing off a recent purchase and some long-held prints in the exquisite "Gifts of the Ebb Tide: The Sea in Japanese Prints," (through Sept. 1). >More
 American Players Theatre in transition: The Spring Green troupe prepares for new directions in 2013 and beyond

For many local theatergoers, summer means grabbing the sunscreen and bug spray, packing a picnic basket and heading to American Players Theatre in Spring Green. While theater options are plentiful year-round, outdoor shows are a fleeting pleasure here in the frozen North. And though APT opened an indoor stage in 2009, its 1,148-seat, open-air amphitheater is still an integral part of the experience. >More
 MMoCA's Focal Points photography show examines American life from many angles

American faces and places are the heart of the newest Madison Museum of Contemporary Art show, Focal Points: American Photography Since 1950 (through Sept. 1). On display are more than 100 works from the museum's permanent collection. Taken collectively, they're an intriguing record of our country over the last half-century or so. >More
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