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Tuesday, September 23, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 70.0° F  A Few Clouds

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In Glasshole!, Broom Street Theater uses comedy to examine potential consequences of a new technology

Selfies aren't just harmless fun anymore. They've even gotten President Obama in trouble recently, after Boston Red Sox player David Ortiz snapped a photo of himself with the world leader and shared it online for what turned out to be a Samsung promotion. Broom Street Theater explores similarly troubling intersections of virtual and actual reality through the lens of Google Glass in a collection of comedy sketches titled Glasshole! (through May 17). >More
 Broom Street Theater's W8ing 4 G-Dogg is a fun, modern response to Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot

While philosophers like Jean-Paul Sartre are known for their deep discussions of existentialism, existential crises affect the rest of us, too. Samuel Beckett knew that and presented a problem of this sort in his famous Waiting for Godot. The Broom Street Theater production W8ting 4 G-Dogg (through April 12) isn't quite a remake of Beckett's play, though it follows a similar plot with analogous characters. It's both accessible and enjoyable. >More
 Music Theatre of Madison's Hostage Song shows how two blindfolded captives stay sane as their hopes of release dwindle

Being held captive in a foreign land could dramatically change the one's definition of normalcy and make escape the most immediate goal. So it makes sense, at least somewhat, when the characters in the Music Theatre of Madison production of Hostage Song break into song. >More
 Broom Street Theater explores the challenges of chronic disease in The Sweet Lowdown and Two Diabetics

November is American Diabetes Month, and Broom Street Theater is doing its part to spread the word about the disease. Through Nov. 16, the troupe brings two diabetes-themed plays to the stage: The Sweet Lowdown and Two Diabetics. >More
 Mercury Players Theatre considers a Wisconsin town's reactions to Ed Gein in The Arsonists

I've probably seen the same portrait of Christ in hundreds of Wisconsin homes and churches. Dated and pastel, with a white Jesus beaming at the sky, it tells me a lot about the place I'm visiting and the people who congregate there. Seeing the same picture in Mercury Players Theatre's The Arsonists (through May 25 at the Bartell Theatre's Evjue Stage) helped me figure out exactly where I was. >More
 Strollers Theatre's A Midsummer Night's Dream is a confusing yet engaging take on Shakespeare's comedy

The Strollers Theatre production of A Midsummer Night's Dream (through May 25 at the Bartell Theatre's Drury Stage) brings to mind psychiatrist Carl Jung. Jung says dreams have logic, and Shakespeare seems to agree. The Bard set Midsummer in a dream world filled with kings, courts and mischief, all of which seem to function as symbols. Strollers gets the dreamy vibe right, but the dreamworld itself is far too complicated. >More
 Wisconsin Film Festival 2013: Everybody in Our Family is a funny but uncomfortable tale of interpersonal conflict in Romania

As the meaty, sleeping figure of Marius Vizereanu (Serban Pavlu) is forced awake by his phone, the image of a hibernating bear comes to mind. Marius' tiny studio certainly has the air of a den: It's dark, strewn with beer cans and hundreds of outdated CDs. There's a bed that has likely never been made. His obligations to his ex-wife and 5-year-old daughter, Sofia, do eventually get him out of bed. But once he's outside his comfort zone, he fails to adapt. >More
 Wisconsin Film Festival 2013: Visually beautiful Post Tenebras Lux is fuzzy in its storytelling

Post Tenebras Lux, Mexican director Carlos Reygadas' fourth feature-length film, has earned several comparisons to Terrence Malick's recent work. It also earned him the Best Director award at Cannes. >More
 Broom Street Theater's Not the Artist pits love against creativity

Artists are often portrayed as flaky, eccentric or even lazy people who care more about their work than their relationships. If you read a lot of fiction, you've seen these kinds of characters in supporting roles. Don't expect that from the Broom Street Theater production of Not the Artist (through March 9). Here, self-centered artists take center stage. >More
 The Acting Company's As You Like It is as bold as the Bard himself

The "All the world's a stage" monologue from Shakespeare's As You Like It is a roadmap of sorts for a globetrotting repertory troupe called the Acting Company. Since launching in 1972, it has trained several stars of the stage and screen, including Broadway luminary Patti LuPone and Academy Award winner Kevin Kline. Over time the limelight fades for many performers, but these actors' careers have endured several of the life stages the speech describes, from lustful young adulthood to wisdom-rich middle age. >More
 Encore Studio's Going to Temple is a weird, witty tale about a woman's search for Temple Grandin

It's the journey, not the destination, as the old saying goes. As long as something is gained along the way, the end goal is largely irrelevant. This is the outlook Encore Studio embraces in Going to Temple, but the opposite seems to be true as well: Though there are some bumps in this production, the aim is both noble and relevant. The play runs through Feb. 9. >More
 Children's Theater of Madison stages a joyful and moving production of A Christmas Carol

In its second year of production at Children's Theater of Madison, Colleen Madden's adaptation of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol is as well timed and well acted as theater comes in Madison. Carolers, dance numbers and a massive Spirit of Christmas Future puppet are dynamic, and the message about community is spot-on. The play runs through Sunday, Dec. 23, at Overture Center's Capitol Theater. >More
 Rock of Ages is a hair-raising ode to 1980s rock 'n' roll

Rock of Ages wears its heart on its sleeve and leopard print just about everywhere else. Set in 1980s L.A., it's an unashamed revue of slick, dumb rock ballads. It runs through Dec. 9 at Overture Hall. >More
 University Theatre's I Can't Go On. I'll Go On. challenges actors and audience alike with short plays by Beckett

Avant-garde theater is not easy. At times, it's loud and unintelligible. Sometimes it's supposed to feel interminable. The University Theatre staging of I Can't Go On. I'll Go On. -- a collection of short plays from late in Samuel Beckett's career -- must have seemed endless to Thursday night's dwindling audience. That's just part of its obtuse charm. >More
 In Mercury Players Theatre's The Opiate of the Missus, the voice of God wreaks havoc on a 1950s election

Playwright Doug Reed is a local-theater hero. His wildly popular comedy The Lamentable Tragedie of Scott Walker has sold out the Bartell Theatre on several occasions. The venue was packed Friday night when Mercury Players Theatre performed his latest work, The Opiate of the Missus. The production runs through Oct. 27. >More
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