Gaelic Storm Plays Jergel’s; RealTime Staging ‘Alchemist of Sharpsburg’; Oscar Nominated Shorts Film Festival at Harris (Fri., 2/17/23)

1) It’s getting to be that time of year again and Gaelic Storm will soon blow into Jergel’s Rhythm Grille. The group became one of the world’s most popular Irish bands overnight when they were featured in the blockbuster of all blockbusters, Titanic. The group was seen entertaining the third-class passengers in the ship’s steerage section. Since then, they have maintained their place as one of the leading ambassadors of all things Irish, recording every famous Celtic song there is and writing a few of their own. The band, however, strangely has had difficulty keeping a fiddler for more than a few years, that position apparently being to them what the drummer is to Spinal Tap (minus the spontaneous combustion, of course). Natalya Kay is the latest in that spot. Their most recent album is 2017’s Go Climb a Tree. 8 p.m. 285 Northgate Dr., Warrendale. (R.H.)

THE ALCHEMIST OF SHARPSBURG by RealTime Interventions. February 17 – 18. 

2) Is life a game or is it a drama? At RealTime Interventions, the answer is yes. This Pittsburgh theater company cannot be called “edgy” because it does the opposite—dissolving the edges that are believed to separate so-called real life from realms of the imagination. Case in point: RealTime’s current adventure, The Alchemist of Sharpsburg. The subject is a real Sharpsburger who goes by the name Candra. RealTime describes him as “a Hindu-practicing, black-metal-listening game enthusiast.” And the play takes the form of an interactive game in which audience members can explore, alter, act out, or otherwise experience Candra’s unusual life. All of that may seem hard to fathom but you’ve got to be there to really get it. The Alchemist scored rave reviews in a pilot production at City Theatre’s studio space on the South Side last year. This year the play materializes in Candra’s real hometown. The Alchemist of Sharpsburg unfolds for two nights only at Atithi Studios, 1020 N. Canal St., Sharpsburg. (M.V.)

3) Would you like to be a judge of the Oscar Awards? Well, now’s your chance. You can judge, and possibly win a prize in judging Oscar Nominated Short Films. The 2023 Oscar Shorts is co-sponsored by the Pittsburgh Shorts Film Festival and presented by Film Pittsburgh in accordance with the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust. The films will be shown at the Harris Theater February 17 through March 9. The festival will feature five films each in the three Oscar Shorts categories – Animation, Documentary, and Live Action – the public can predict the winner for each category for a chance to be entered to win prizes. Prizes will be given to one individual per category who guesses correctly, with a grand prize awarded to whomever correctly predicts the winners of all categories. 809 Liberty, Ave., Cultural District.

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Rick Handler

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