Art If you look closely, Serge tells his bemused friends while unveiling his expensive new art purchase, you can see white stripes on top of the white background. It’s an emperor’s-new-clothes moment as Serge’s two best friends react to the white-on-white canvas in their own personality-challenged ways. Soon this three-man circus isn’t only exploring the world of art, but also the art of friendship. This is the rare comedy that examines the interplay between three male friends, inner dialogue and all. It’s also a perfect vehicle for this talented cast in an intimate theater setting.
Delta King Theatre; 8 p.m. Thursday and Friday, 7 p.m. Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday; $16-$18. 1000 Front Street in Old Sacramento, (916) 995-5464. Through June 20. P.R.
The Boxcar Children This is a fun and very amusing adaptation of a popular children’s-book series about the adventures of four Depression-era orphans. It’s a quick trip—just two half-hour acts. This makes the plot a bit choppy, but the end result is an entertaining story about plucky, enterprising kids who just want to stay together as a family. Great period additions include 1930s songs, a movie-organ soundtrack, handsome costumes, and Laurel- and Hardy-like sidekicks.
Children’s Theatre of California; 7 p.m. Friday, 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. Saturday, and 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. Sunday; $15-$20. 2711 B Street, (916) 443-5300. Extended through June 13. P.R.
The Lion in Winter This sturdy (if not stellar) production hits most of the strong points of James Goldman’s perennially popular script, which is set in medieval France. It features characters who sound quite contemporary, and it plays like a comedy, though there are actually some nasty schemes afoot. An aging king and his estranged queen are in a stalemate over which of their three flawed sons will inherit the crown. The script features several staggeringly beautiful, bleak speeches—though they aren’t always delivered in tip-top form. Director Lydia Venables realizes enough of the potential to mold this production into winning entertainment. Shelly Sandford is particularly good as Eleanor, mixing sweetness and sarcasm, strategy and sadness.
Woodland Opera House; 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday; $10-$14. 340 Second Street in Woodland, (530) 666-9617. Through June 20. J.H.
Our Town Thornton Wilder’s classic play about life in 1913 in Grover’s Corners, N.H., is deceptive in its plainness and grace. This simple tale of simple lives in a small town is presented in three acts: “Daily Life,” “Love and Marriage” and “Death and Aftermath.” Wilder’s message is that life is a series of simple moments. Wilder gives us a stage manager who faces the audience and sets the visual scene. There are no real sets; the actors mime props; action is stopped and started; and the past, present and future are not linear. It’s a great concept, one director Anthony D’Juan and these acting-workshop students pull off with impressive results.
Actor’s Theatre; 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday; $12-$14. 1616 Del Paso Boulevard, (916) 925-6579. Through May 30. P.R.
7xLove Evan Nossoff—who organized this show by SacActors.com and taught this group of community actors—has a great marketing hook. 7xLove is seven one-act plays, featuring seven actors, by seven playwrights (actually eight; there’s a double byline) and seven directors. The common theme is love, as in love found, love gone bad and love fantasized. It’s a crazy-quilt show with new stories and new characters every 10 or 12 minutes. Chances are you’ll find three or four that you like.
Geery Theatre; 8 p.m. Friday, 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. Saturday, and 3 p.m. Sunday; $14.50. 2130 L Street, (916) 451-4152. Through June 20. J.H.
Slider Abandon Productions applies its low-tech, high-concept style of physical theater to a linear, biographical storyline. The focus of the tale is Slider, a tough girl growing up in the 1940s (played by Dana Hudson, with a marvelous squint and scowl). Her life takes several heartbreaking turns, but she survives the setbacks, albeit with scars. The limber cast members—wearing climbers’ helmets and hard plastic kneepads and wrist guards—run, slide, climb and collide on the concrete floor, in addition to singing well-layered a cappella vocals. Director Doniel Soto conjures gorgeous visuals of childbirth, a drowning at sea and more, using only his actors’ intertwined torsos and limbs.
The Space, 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, $10-$13. 2509 R Street, (916) 737-2304. Extended through June 19. J.H.
Struggling Truths Interactive Asian Contemporary Theatre was forced to switch locations for this show when repair work at the company’s usual venue took longer than expected. The play is an impartial, concept-driven polemic dealing with the Chinese takeover of Tibet, observed from three points of view: that of the Dalai Lama and those of a brother and sister who unexpectedly find themselves on opposing sides in the conflict. There’s a lot of interesting dialogue about Buddhism, enlightenment and Eastern vs. Western thinking. The show earns an A for ambitious intent and sincerity of effort but barely passing grades for overall acting and technical execution. It’s recommended, with reservations, to those who are interested in the topic and those who want to show support for this determined, struggling little Asian theater group.
Mel Lawson Theatre; 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 3 p.m. Sunday; $12-$14. Sacramento High School, 2315 34th Street; (916) 452-6174. Through May 30. J.H.