‘Ciara’ On Stage at Quantum; City Theatre Running ‘Some Brighter Distance’ (Wed., 2/3/16)


In David Harrower's play at Quantum, the past speaks to Ciara (Mary Rawson) and Ciara talks back.

In David Harrower’s play at Quantum, the past speaks to Ciara (Mary Rawson) and Ciara talks back. Photo: Heather Mull.

1) Every so often in its forays into the unusual, Quantum Theatre presents a play that sets out to conduct a sweeping exploration of all aspects of the human condition, or at least a lot of them. Mnemonic (performed in 2013) was one such play and Ciara is another. But whereas Mnemonic took you on a whirlwind tour of the history and mysteries of Western civilization, with parallel plots unfolding across Europe while actors hopped between multiple roles, Ciara offers a different kind of journey. This new piece by Scottish playwright David Harrower is a one-person, one-location play. The title character is a middle-aged woman who owns an art gallery. Her late father was a mobster, head of a criminal enterprise now run by her husband. At the gallery, Ciara is exhibiting an artist who ignites her passion, in more ways than one. And as she reminisces and rambles, she reveals a life in which art, crime, love, drugs, violence, and high and low society all come together, or maybe apart. Ciara was a sensation at the Edinburgh Fringe festival in 2013. Quantum is giving the play its U.S. premiere with Mary Rawson as Ciara. 8 p.m. Perfomances continue through February 14. At Javo Studios, 5137 Holmes St., Lawrenceville. (MV)

2) At the end of World War II, a U.S. intelligence program called Operation Paperclip tracked down large numbers of German scientists and engineers. In the Nazi regime they had built the V-2 rockets launched against London and other Allied cities. These men were brought to the United States, where they led the design of new American rockets—first for the country’s nuclear arsenal, then for the Apollo space flights. A new play about this strange turn of events is making its world premiere at City Theatre. Some Brighter Distance is by Keith Reddin, a playwright known for dealing with moral ironies and paradoxes. Here he focuses on the story of engineer Arthur Rudolph, who became a fervid American citizen and a director of the Apollo projects, but later was forced to leave the country when controversy arose over his possible connection to Nazi-era war crimes. 1 and 7 p.m. Runs through February 14. Rudolph’s famous colleague Wernher Von Braun is also a character in Some Brighter Distance. 1300 Bingham St., South Side. (MV)


3) Dirty Grandpa – Sometimes even legends have to pay the rent. I think that might explain why Robert DeNiro is showing up in this comedy by longtime Sasha Baron Cohen collaborator Dan Mazer. Zac Efron plays a severely repressed corporate lawyer and the grandson of DeNiro. When the film opens Zac is one week away from marrying his prim and proper girlfriend when tragedy strikes: his grandmother has just died. Being a good grandson Zac offers to help his rough-around-the-edges grandfather with the grieving process. I kinda guessed it would be a road movie in which grandfather and grandson bond and each learns a life lesson from the other. Wrong! Little does Zac know that DeNiro is a foul-mouthed old coot and he tricks Zac into driving him to spring break in Miami so that he, DeNiro, can get lucky with one (or many) of the bodacious undergrads. In the trailer I saw, a near naked Efron is dancing in a frat house and crowing: “I just smoked crack!” Maybe it’s time we hold a telethon for DeNiro. Check Fandango for screens and times. (TH)

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Rick Handler

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