Pablo Francisco Visits Improv; PICT Presents “Woman and Scarecrow” (CPs Thurs., 7/10/14)

1) One may describe Pablo Francisco and his brand of comedy as madcap, raunchy, or loud. His act is something like a collage of sound effects, impressions, and various self-developed characters woven together with wit, kinetic flair, and a keen eye for the absurd. There’s a very good chance you may know him as the guy that does the impression of the guy that does the voice for movie trailers (you know—the guy with the really deep, epic-sounding voice? Yeah—that guy, the late Don LaFontaine). However, though his set relies heavily on his expert voice work, Francisco prefers not to think of himself as a sound or prop comic—rather, he thinks of himself as an “A.D.D. comic,” as someone just “messing around.” Francisco has been featured on numerous sketch comedy shows—most notably, “MadTV” and “Mind of Mencia.” Likewise, he’s appeared on “The Tonight Show” and Howard Stern’s radio show. Check him out at Pittsburgh Improv. 8 p.m. Through July 13. 166 E. Bridge St., Homestead.

2) Slightly less madcap is Woman and Scarecrow, presented by PICT Classical Theatre in the Henry Heymann Theatre. Written by Irish playwright Marina Carr and first produced in 2006, Woman and Scarecrow seems an apt companion to Samuel Beckett’s absurd tragicomedy Waiting for Godot, which PICT presented last month. The title character—Woman—lies on her deathbed after a frustrating life in which she married her lecherous husband (“Him”) and cared for eight children. As she awaits death, she converses with a drug-induced hallucination born from her own psyche, which takes the shape of Scarecrow. With Scarecrow’s assistance, she contemplates her decisions, their consequences, and wonders what will happen to the world from which she is about to depart. Throughout the play, she receives two visitors: aforementioned Him, and a Catholic fundamentalist named Aunt Ah, who represents the religion from which Woman has grown estranged. These visits are laced with irony, as Him and Aunt Ah are, of course, only capable of seeing and conversing with one of the plays two titular characters. In spite of its macabre subject, past productions of the play have left critics feeling hopeful; perhaps PICT’s production will do the same for you. Directed by Alan Stanford. 8 p.m. Through Aug. 2. 4301 Forbes Ave., Oakland.

3) Who doesn’t love movies in the park? Stop by the Hartwood Acres Mansion lawn for a presentation of writer/director Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby  (2013). If nothing else, this adaptation of the Great American Novel is a spectacle, turning a book that you might have found exceedingly dry in 10th grade English into something a bit more colorful, maybe even like a psychedelic trip. If you haven’t seen the film and you’re wondering what to expect, consider that Luhrmann also wrote and directed that bizarre late-90s hit Moulin Rouge!—so mix the stylistic and cinematographic sensibilities of that film with the notorious Roaring 20s, and you’ll have some idea of what to expect. Regardless, the movie’s free, and with the backdrop of Hartwood Acres’ Mansion, you might even feel—for a fleeting moment—like you’re at one of Gatsby’s extravagant Bacchanalian revelries. Starring Tobey Maguire and Leonardo DiCaprio. Film begins at dusk. 200 Hartwood Acres, Hampton and Indiana townships.

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Dan Hoyt

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