On Stage This Week

Theater offerings in case you're in the mood for theater

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A Comedy About Tragedy:

Beckett's Endgame closes arts series

Irish playwright and Nobel laureate Samuel Beckett (1906-1989) may be best known forWaiting for Godot, but his personal fave among his works was Endgame, a sad and funny fable of the human condition. Opening Thursday, the play serves as a fitting finale for the Cleveland Museum of Art's 2010-2011 VIVA! & Gala Performing Arts series. It's also a fine sendoff for the soon-to-relocate Cleveland Play House, where it will be performed in the Brooks Theatre on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings through June 11. The story centers on Hamm, a blind, chair-bound tyrant; his fumbling servant/son Clov; and Hamm's ancient parents, Nell and Nagg, who live in a trash can and occassionally pop out to add their two cents' worth. (Nell, incidentally, is played by local theater legend Dorothy Silver.) The show ingeniously blends the high arts of literature and painting with broad physical comedy; it's as if "the Book of Genesis, Dante, Bosch, or Bruegel were played by Chaplin, Marx, or Keaton," says the museum's Massoud Saidpour, who directs. Tickets are $29 ($27 for museum members) and may be purchased online at clevelandart.org, by phone at 888-CMA-0033, or at the Play House (8500 Euclid Ave.) one hour before each performance. — Elaine T. Cicora Girls Night: The Musical: See review in this issue. Tickets are $39.50 to $50 at 216-241-6000 or online at playhousesquare.org. It's happening through June 26 at the East 14th Street Theatre at 2037 East 14th St. And yes, there is a full bar.

Huck and Holden: Cleveland native and Pulitzer Prize-nominated playwright Rajiv Joseph packs a lot of humor and insight into this deceptively light 75 minutes exploring the question of how we decide on the chances we're willing to take with our lives. And while there are a couple of rather ineffective side trips in the story, Ensemble has fashioned a well-acted and handsome staging for Joseph's affable yet intellectually curious script (Christine Howey). Through May 29 at the Cleveland Play House, 8500 Euclid Ave. Tickets are $10 to $20 at 216-321-2930 or online at ensemble-theatre.com.

Ruined: Set in a small mining town in the Democratic Republic of Congo, this powerful drama from Lynn Nottage examines the resilience of the human spirit in times of war. Through May 29 at Karamu Theatre, 2355 East 89th St. Tickets are $10 to $25 at 216-795-7077 or online at karamuhouse.org

The Dead End Eddy Chronicles, Vol. 2: C-Side Theatre presents this sketch comedy show as a way to provide a satiric look at Cleveland's struggles and some weird and crazy ideas for self-improvement. May 20 and 21 at Kennedy's Theatre. Tickets are $10 at 216-241-6000 or online at playhousesquare.org.

The Museum Play: A dark, comic exploration of untenable longings to possess the past and preserve love, Jordan Harrison's play investigates the curious intersections of memory and desire. A Convergence-Continuum production, it runs through June 4 at the Liminis, 2438 Scranton Rd. Tickets are $15 at 216-687-0074 or convergence-continuum.org.

My Barking Dog: Two lonely people's lives take a dramatic turn for the bizarre when a starving coyote starts appearing at their doorsteps. Written by acclaimed Cleveland playwright Eric Coble and directed by Jeremy Paul, the play runs through May 28 at Cleveland Public Theatre; tickets are $10 to $25 at 216-631-2727 or at cptonline.org.

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