Music for eyes and ears
Commissioned by B Street Theatre from playwright Idris Goodwin, Bars and Measures is stagecraft at its best. Form and function fuse as the story of two African-American brothers, one an incarcerated, volatile jazz genius (Jahi Kearse), a convert to Islam, and the other a Christian, struggling young classical pianist (Darian Dauchan), explores the saving—and freeing—graces of music during prison visits. Their story rides the swing of jazz, from melancholy to celebratory and back, hopeful, wistful, but sometimes fading into hurt and sadness, like the blues. A bit edgier than normal for B Street, the play explores themes of race, religion, fealty, faith and justice. The opening night's performance drew a spontaneous standing ovation—not the kind that's seemingly obligatory with people gradually getting to their feet and applauding, but a jump-up-and-shout salute. 7 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, 8 p.m. Saturday; 2 p.m. Thursday; 1 p.m. Sunday; $23-$35. 2711 B Street, (916) 443-5300, www.bstreettheatre.org. Through September 19.