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The Tender Madness of the Dallas Theater Center’s Medea

We are told in Medea that “great passions grow into monsters,” and there is no doubt that Sally Nystuen Vahle’s terrifying mother and scorned wife is fueled by passion. Her keening wails and raging screams echo off the cold concrete in the basement of the Kalita Humphreys Theater; she’s like an animal backed into a corner that’s forced to attack its way out. But Vahle also finds the tenderness in her madness, offering moments of such raw, riveting honesty that she cannot be seen simply as an evil, murderous monster.

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DBDT Spotlights Young Talent In Dancing Beyond Borders

Over the years, one of the many pleasures of Dallas Black Dance Theatre (DBDT) has been watching their talented performers come through the ranks, and in the company’s 38 year history, founder Ann Williams brought to the forefront some enormously gifted dancers such as Nycole Ray and Melissa Young, to name a few. This year, with new artistic director April Berry at the helm, that tradition continues.

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Wacky Wilde/Earnest Is Wild, Not So Earnest

As a concept, Lee Trull’s wild and wacky adaptation of The Importance of Being Earnest seems so promising. Take Oscar Wilde’s famous play and update it with modern slang, a bubblegum-pink set by artist Rob Wilson, and hipster glasses—can’t lose, right? But somewhere in the midst of all those false identities and roller skates, something doesn’t fully translate, and the play becomes an odd jumble of good ideas left to roll around on their own.

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The Identity Crisis of ¡My Sweet Bat-Ceañera!

Elizabeth Berkman explains in her one-woman show that artists are commonly told not to draw the thing itself, but the area around it. This advice doesn’t work so well in a 40-minute show that’s supposedly about Berkman’s cultural identity (she was born Bolivian but adopted by white Jewish/Episcopalian parents). Instead of extrapolating why Berkman is who she is from the characters she creates, we spend much of our time trying to figure out whom she is impersonating, and why. The show’s title is misleading, as we see very little of Berkman herself in these portrayals.

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Melinda Wood Allen Makes Her Own Rules in Charming Not An Ingenue

“Stars and the Moon” from Jason Robert Brown’s Songs For a New World is one cabaret standard I thought for sure I never needed to hear again. But as Melinda Wood Allen sings it in Not An Ingenue, an intimate and charming showcase of songs she has been deemed “too big” to play during her years as a professional musical theater actor, the song feels new again.

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You Need Go Search Gets Lost Looking for a Point

This odd little two-hander from Ah, Whoopsies! starts out promisingly enough, with Timothy Giles dangling by his teeth from a clothesline and lamenting chances lost. Then, sadly, it devolves into little more than an acting class exercise, with Giles and Lauren Ferebee scurrying and crawling around the stage while stuttering in incoherent snippets. Perhaps we’re meant to decipher the meaning of their “speeches” through facial expressions, but the near-blackout conditions—the stage is often lit only by tiny flashlights—make that impossible.

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The Danielle Georgiou Dance Group Is Twice As NICE at Out of the Loop

It’s more than nice that another round of audiences get to see Danielle Georgiou’s provocative, beautiful, and deeply unsettling multisensory dance show NICE. Having played the Wyly as part of the Elevator Series in November, the members of Danielle Georgiou Dance Group and co-collaborators Justin Locklear and Paul Slavens return with this meditation on etiquette and expectations.

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The Comedic Misery of Jenn Dodd’s Melanchomedy

There’s no denying that Jenn Dodd is a gifted comedienne with a knack for impressions, but not all of her misfit characters in Melanchomedy are polished to a quirky sheen yet. That’s not to say they aren’t funny—in fact, I dare you to watch Dodd’s show and not at least giggle at each of these miserable losers. For that’s who Dodd has focused on: sad sacks ranging from a suicidal clown to a blubbering SMU sorority girl, enlarging the weird in order to focus on the mundane irritations we all know too well.

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The Spark Lights Up the Imagination at Out of the Loop

There’s a fringe festival aura that seems perfectly suited to The Spark, a new play written and directed by Kelsey Leigh Ervi. Imaginatively using bedsheets, flashlights, wine bottles, coat hangers, and other found objects, the cast of five creates far-flung worlds and takes its audience on fantastical adventures with only the power of suggestion.

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