THE ESSENTIAL A&E PICKS FOR JAN 13 - 19 | Entertainment Picks | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly
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Culture » Entertainment Picks

THE ESSENTIAL A&E PICKS FOR JAN 13 - 19

Good Co. Theatre: The Two-Character Play, Esther Povitsky, Casey Lou Miller: Intrinsic Nature Elpitha Tsoutsounakis: Unknown Prospect: Body, Pigment, Swatch , and more.

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CAMILLE WASHINGTON
  • Camille Washington

Good Co. Theatre: The Two-Character Play
Tennessee Williams is rightly celebrated as one of America's master dramatists for psychologically-dense works like The Glass Menagerie, A Streetcar Named Desire, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and Night of the Iguana. But Williams also experimented with the emerging absurdist theater of the 1950s developed by legendary figures like Samuel Beckett and Eugene Ionesco, using a shifting sense of reality to dig into some of the complexities of his own family history. That's the core of The Two-Character Play, which was developed by Williams over the course of 10 years—including an alternate title of Out Cry—in the 1960s and early 1970s.

The title The Two-Character Play itself offers a double meaning within the work. The audience itself is watching a two-character play, featuring a pair of actors—a brother and sister named Felice and Clare—who find themselves alone when left behind by the company with which they are touring. Yet as they believe themselves to be facing an audience expecting a performance, they begin their own two-character play, one where the lines between the actors and the characters in their play-within-the-play grow increasingly blurry.

The Two-Character Play runs Jan. 13-30 at Ogden's Good Company Theatre (2404 Wall Ave.), with performances Friday-Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 4 p.m.; the Jan. 22 performance will feature ASL translator. Tickets are $25 general admission, $17 student. Proof of vaccination or negative COVID test within 72 hours is required for admission, and face coverings are required throughout the performance. Visit goodcotheatre.com for tickets and additional information. (Scott Renshaw)

Updated: This production has been rescheduled to open Jan. 28

COMEDY CENTRAL
  • Comedy Central

Esther Povitsky
It's hard enough for anyone coming of age in these uncertain times, but it's especially difficult for a 30-something who's trying to make the transition from youthful uncertainty to a semblance of marked maturity. Comedienne Esther Povitsky—affectionately known as "Little Esther" — is no stranger to that plight, and given her confessional, self-effacing delivery, it's easy to empathize.

Povitsky got her start after dropping out of the University of Illinois and subsequently studying comedy with Chicago's Second City. Considering herself an outcast and oddball, she came into her own once she relocated to Los Angeles, where she honed her skills at legendary spots like The Comedy Store and The Improv. That led to recurring appearances on Last Comic Standing in 2015 and her own special, Hot for My Name, on Comedy Central in 2020.

Even so, the fact that she's an otherwise unassuming individual—or, in in her words, "half Jewish/half regular"—makes her as confused and confounded as the rest of us, with the same fears, phobias and fantasies. Yet, though she often comes across as needy and neurotic, she's still determined to persevere.

That's admirable, but on the other hand, don't we all feel better when we discover other people who are even more screwed up than we are? That makes her upcoming performances at Wiseguys (194 S. 400 West) particularly appealing. Showtimes are at 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m., Friday, Jan. 14 and Saturday, Jan. 15. Tickets cost $25; phone 801-532-5233 or go to wiseguyscomedy.com for more info. (Lee Zimmerman)

COURTESY PHOTO
  • Courtesy Photo

Casey Lou Miller: Intrinsic Nature Elpitha Tsoutsounakis: Unknown Prospect: Body, Pigment, Swatch
The distinctive landscape of Southern Utah has been an inspiration for creative artists, from the writings of authors like Wallace Stegner to the iconic Hollywood Westerns of John Ford. Visual artists, however, have generated the most vivid work inspired by these stark landscapes, with some of the most recent evidence coming in the work of two artists sharing Finch Lane Gallery (54 Finch Lane).

Casey Lou Miller's Intrinsic Nature consists of boldly colored three-dimensional pieces constructed from birch plywood, inspired by the native desert flora of Southern Utah ("Phases" is pictured). An adjunct faculty member at Dixie State University, Miller creates works that are not simply representations, but pieces suggesting the different phases of their life cycle experienced by the plants that inspired them.

In Unknown Prospect: Body, Pigment, Swatch, University of Utah faculty member Elpitha Tsoutsounakis crafts works connected by her fascination with the unique coloring of the Southern Utah landscape created by iron oxide minerals. Her website describes UnknownProspect.org as "a speculative project in material color ... an amalgam of design research, field work, installation, exhibit, printing, products and publishing," all connected by ochres and the way they link us to the history of this specific place.

Both exhibitions run Jan. 14 – Feb. 25, with a public artist reception scheduled Jan. 21, 6-9 p.m. Regular gallery hours are Tuesdays 9:30 a.m. – 8:30 p.m., and Wednesdays-Thursdays 9:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. Visit saltlakearts.org for health & safety recommendations and additional information. (SR)

PIONEER THEATRE COMPANY
  • Pioneer Theatre Company

Pioneer Theatre Co.: The Messenger
Truth is an elusive entity these days. Politics and the pandemic are intertwined in a tangled web of mystery, manipulation and the loosening threads of a confounding reality. Pioneer Theatre Company, now celebrating its 60th season, is known for exploring issues pertinent to today's times. Consequently, the company's world premiere production of The Messenger by award-winning playwright Jeff Talbott mirrors the predicament that arises when media credibility faces both scrutiny and suspicion.

Inspired by Henrik Ibsen's classic An Enemy of the People, The Messenger follows a doctor in a small Norwegian town who makes a shocking discovery, one that threatens to shake her community to its core. She's then forced to confront a local newspaper editor who's determined to publish story, even though she risks creating havoc in its wake.

With the support of Artistic Director Karen Azenberg, Talbott, director Wes Grantom and composer Will Van Dyke have produced a work that resonates with suspense and intrigue. It runs Jan. 14 - 29 at Simmons Pioneer Memorial Theatre (300 S. 1400 East) with performances Monday - Thursday, at 7 p.m., Friday, at 7:30 p.m. and Saturdays at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $33 - $50 in advance; $5 more on day of show. (Students K-12 are half-price Monday-Thursday.) A free panel discussion will take place after the Jan. 15 matinee and a talk-back with the cast will follow the Jan. 22 matinee. For more information, including health & safety protocols, phone 801-581-6961or go to pioneertheatre.org. (LZ)