barebones’ “American Falls” in Braddock; EQT Children’s Theater Festival Continues (Sun., 5/17/15)

1) Talk about strange cycles: In 2006, Miki Johnson played a featured role in Quantum Theatre’s After Mrs. Rochester, which was staged at the historic Braddock Carnegie Library and marked the debut of modern avant-garde theater in that steel mill town. Johnson later moved to Houston, Texas where she became a playwright as well as an actress. Now Pittsburgh’s barebones productions is mounting her lauded first play, American Falls, in—where else?—Braddock. The venue this time is the former Superior Motors building, where chef Kevin Sousa will soon open a destination restaurant. American Falls is a slice-of-life drama about people in the small Idaho town of the same name. It’s been called an “Our Town for our times” and won Johnson the 2012 Houston Press award for Best New Playwright. 6 p.m. Continues through May 31. 1211 Braddock Ave., Braddock.


Is this theater? Yes, because the Children's Festival is one big performance.

Is this theater? Yes, because the Children’s Festival is one big performance.

2) There’s no need for children to sit still and listen to enjoy the EQT Children’s Theater Festival—in fact, they don’t have to see a play at all. The entertainment at the four-day festival includes more than 40 hands-on activities from hula hooping and building with Lego to a giant sand box. The performances—which come from theater companies around the world—don’t require sitting quietly either. Tangle, by Polygot Theatre of Australia, involves making your own art installation by winding colorful elastic around poles. Meanwhile, a production by Danish company Teatret Gruppe 38, strictly for 8-year-olds and over, asks whether you’re brave enough to hear the “real story” of Hansel & Gretel. Ends today. Multiple venues, Cultural District.

3) The Steel Cactus on Walnut Street is open for Sunday Brunch from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.—perfectly timed to get you filled up and out before your Sunday activities. The brunch menu includes Huevos Rancheros, Spicy Southwest Omelet, Fajita Breakfast Burrito, Breakfast Nachos, Steak and Eggs, Pancake of the Week, and French Toast served with eggs and bacon or sausage. “Salud!” with a Bloody Mary or Mimosas. 5505 Walnut St., Shadyside.

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Rick Handler

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