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At the Strand Theatre: live on stage and opera film



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Beginning this evening, the Strand Theatre (717 Clay St.) presents the stage play “Two Rooms,” written by Lee Blessing. The play will also be performed tomorrow, Saturday, Sept. 7, and next Friday and Saturday, Sept. 13 and 14. Curtain is at 7:30 p.m. each night.

The two rooms of the title are, first, a windowless cubicle in Beirut, where an American hostage is being held by Arab terrorists, and a room in the American’s home in the United States, which his wife has stripped of furniture so that, at least symbolically, she can share his ordeal. The rooms are the locales for imaginary conversations between the hostage and his wife, and the setting for the real talks she has with a reporter and a State Department official. The reporter, an overly ambitious sort who hopes to develop the situation into a major personal accomplishment, tries to prod the wife into taking umbrage at what he labels government ineptitude and inaction, while the State Department representative is coolly efficient, even dispassionate, in her attempt to treat the matter with professional detachment. It is her job to try to make the wife aware of the larger equation, of which the taking of a hostage is only one element. As the months inch by, it becomes increasingly difficult to remain patient. The wife is finally goaded by unforeseen developments to speak out against government policy and, in so doing, triggers the tragic series of events that brings the play to its startling conclusion. In the end there are no winners, only losers, and the sense of futility and despair that comes when people of goodwill realize that logic, compassion, and fairness have become meaningless when dealing with those who would commit barbarous acts so willingly.

Tickets for “Two Rooms” are $10 in advance at Highway 61 Coffeehouse (1101 Washington St.) or online at $15 at the door.

On Sunday, Sept. 8, at 2 p.m., the Strand presents the opera film “Orphee et Euridice.”

From Teatro alla Scala, in Milan, Christoph Willibald Gluck’s “Orphée et Euridice” stars Juan Diego Flórez, who dazzled audiences and critics alike when he played the virtuoso role of Orphée in La Scala’s first ever staging of Gluck’s opera in its French version. The opera is sung in French, and the film provides English subtitles.

“Juan Diego Flórez delivered a lesson in style. His tone is darker and his projection more self-effacing than in the past, but class is permanent. His agility and legato are utterly thrilling. The ovations were never-ending.” (Corriere della sera)

The film features conductor Michele Mariott, directors Hofesh Shechter and John Fulljames, choreographer Hofesh Shechter, and cast members Christiane Karg and Fatma Said.

Tickets are $12 in advance at Highway 61 Coffeehouse (1101 Washington St.) and $15 at the door.

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