Three Plays Opening: 12 Peers ‘White Rabbit Red Rabbit,’ Pitt’s ‘Nine,’ and CMU’s ‘The Plague in Venice’ (Thurs., 4/7/16)

White Rabbit Red Rabbit Text1) Now for something else completely different. 12 Peers Theater, a relatively new (founded in 2011) and highly experimental Pittsburgh company, is presenting White Rabbit Red Rabbit, a one-person play written by Nassim Soleimanpour. The playwright is Iranian. He has scripted a personal (though, according to 12 Peers, “not overtly political”) drama about what it’s like to be a conscientious objector in a country where military service is mandatory. White Rabbit Red Rabbit is an allegorical fantasy featuring, well, animals such as rabbits. Nor is that all that’s different about the production. For each show during the run, White Rabbit Red Rabbit will be performed in cold-reading by a different actor, none of whom has seen the script beforehand. 12 Peers has lined up a rotating cast of Pittsburgh all-stars for the role, including PICT Classic Theatre artistic director Alan Stanford, Prime Stage’s Wayne Brinda, local legend Richard Rauh, fast-rising actress Hayley Nielsen, and more—17 in all. Better yet, every performance is pay-what-you-want, though reservations are strongly suggested. 8 p.m. Continues through April 24. At the Pittsburgh Playwrights theater space, 937 Liberty Ave., Cultural District. (MV)

2) To film buffs, Federico Fellini’s is a work of cinematic genius, a surreal journey through the dreamlike world of movie-making itself. And there is also a play—a musical, no less—that takes the story half a notch further. It’s called Nine. Written by Arthur Kopit and Maury Yeston, it won the 1982 Tony Award for Best Musical, and Pitt’s Department of Theatre Arts is performing Nine to wrap up its Mainstage season with a bang. As in Fellini’s semi-autobiographical opus, you’ve got the famous Italian filmmaker who is suffering from writer’s block while beset by glamorous women and flashbacks of his past life. Nine amps up the action with songs like “A Call from the Vatican,” “Be Italian,” and (ominously) “I Can’t Make This Movie!” The Pitt production goes further still, adding a guest appearance by Kathleen Humphrey, whose credentials are impeccable: She is Senior Vice Chancellor of the University of Pittsburgh. In the Charity Randall Theatre at the Stephen Foster Memorial, 8 p.m. Runs through April 17. 4301 Forbes Ave., Oakland. (MV)

3) Frankly, we at Entertainment Central cannot tell you what to expect if you go to see The Plague in Venice at Carnegie Mellon’s School of Drama, and perhaps that is for the best. This is a very unusual production of a most unusual piece of theater. What we do know is that despite the title, Plague isn’t a tragedy. It’s a comedy—done with mime and mask in a modern version of commedia dell’arte style, based on a story outline left behind by the 16th-century commedia artist Flaminio Scala. It seems he created the original in order to put a satirical spin on events that had transpired in Venice when the city was ravaged by an all-too-real plague some years before. Got that? Good, because Carnegie Mellon’s The Plague in Venice also features puppets and high-tech multimedia, which might be too much to go into here. 8 p.m. Performances through April 23.  In the Philip Chosky Theater at CMU’s Purnell Center for the Arts, 5000 Forbes Ave., Oakland. (MV)