September: Best of Culture in Pittsburgh
Check out some of the finest stage plays, dance performances and exhibits taking place this month in Pittsburgh.
Photo by Heather Mull
by Lauren Davidson
Through Sept. 10/ Quantum Theatre begins its 2017-2018 season with the world premiere of “Red Hills” by Sean Christopher Lewis. Main character David first visited Rwanda as a 16-year-old on a missionary trip with his church, when he inadvertently becomes witnesses to the genocide. David later recounts his experience in a book, “Letters from the Red Hills,” and 20 years later he receives a copy accompanied by a note, “There are untruths here.” David must travel back to Rwanda to confront his past — and the truth, whatever it may be. The production is directed by Katie Pearl and developed in collaboration with En Garde Arts in New York City, where it will travel after its Pittsburgh run. (Recycling Building, 32nd and Smallman streets, Strip District; 412/362-1713, quantumtheatre.org)
Sept. 28-Oct. 29/ Pittsburgh Public Theater presents the Tony Award-winning play “Equus.” Written in 1975 by Peter Shaffer (“Amadeus”) and thrust back into the spotlight when “Harry Potter” star Daniel Radcliffe starred in the Broadway revival in 2007, “Equus” tells the story of a stable hand obsessed with horses. Horses (played by humans) appear on stage alongside their two-legged counterparts in this adaptation directed by Ted Pappas, kicking off his final season as artistic director at The Public. (O’Reilly Theater, 621 Penn Ave., Downtown; 412/316-1600, ppt.org)
Sept. 8-24/ Pittsburgh Playhouse’s The Rep presents “The Scottsboro Boys,” a tale set in the Jim Crow South billed as “A little song, a little dance, a lot of poignance.” Performed as a minstrel show, the story follows nine African-American teenagers falsely accused of raping two white women on a train; landmark Supreme Court cases followed. Originally directed and choreographed by Susan Stroman, who will be assisting in the Pittsburgh premiere, the show garnered 12 Tony nominations after its Broadway run in 2010. (The Rauh Theatre, 222 Craft Ave., Oakland; 412/392-8000, pittsburghplayhouse.com)
Seth Clark, “Orb Study” (2015) | photo courtesy Seth Clark
by Mike May
SEPT. 8-FEB. 17/ Shelter, a basic, essential and universal need, is not always attainable for everyone. To explore and examine that issue, Contemporary Craft’s new exhibit “Shelter: Crafting a Safe Home” is a response in art and craft, another “socially engaging” effort that continues CC’s commitment to presenting serious, challenging and sometimes provocative topics.
Fourteen contemporary artists — international, national and local (Seth Clark, Chris Ivey and ROY from Pittsburgh) — have been brought together by CC staff and community partners in human services to express their interpretations through more than 40 works in a variety of media: fiber, wood, glass, ceramics, jewelry, found objects, video and more (a number of community-engagement outreach programs are also planned).
Video conveys the soul of a project by Charity White that demonstrates how even a minimal definition of shelter and comfort remains elusive for some people, such as the homeless. Ceramic sculptures of the human form were placed lying down on city benches, but these bodies had to be divided into two sections because the handrails in the middle of the benches render restful positions impossible.
Other examples include:
- Kathryn Clark’s series of hand-embroidered textiles, which looks at global issues such as the U.S. foreclosure crisis and international border controls through visual imagery and narratives.
- Seth Clark’s collage and sculpture, used to capture the energy of deteriorating architecture and the idea it conveys of permanence deconstructing.
- Glass works by Holly Grace explore the medium’s inherent possibilities for providing light or shattering; Grace chose the medium for “creating landscapes both real and imagined, internal and external.”
(2100 Smallman St., Strip District; 412/261-7003, contemporarycraft.org)
THROUGH OCT. 29/ Blue is a color that can mean many things to many people. Members of the Fiberarts Guild of Pittsburgh were challenged to portray how that translates in their lives and art in the exhibit “Blue.” Curator Ruth Snyderman of Snyderman-Works Galleries in Philadelphia has selected 35 artists and 40 works of art for the show. (Pittsburgh Center for the Arts, 6300 Fifth Ave., Point Breeze; 412/361-0873, center.pfpca.org)
THROUGH OCT. 15/ A museum’s collection grows and builds not only through the eyes of its curators but also, at times, through the vision of astute collectors. That legacy is celebrated at “Shaping a Modern Legacy: Karl and Jennifer Salatka Collect” at Carnegie Museum of Art. During the past 15 years, the Salatkas have made gifts of their collection of post-World War II art to the museum. Look for modern masters including Pittsburgh’s Andy Warhol, Willem de Kooning, Elizabeth Murray, Richard Diebenkorn, Jasper Johns, Anselm Kiefer, Frank Stella, Roy Lichtenstein, Gerhard Richter, Ed Ruscha and more. (Gallery One, Carnegie Museum of Art, 4400 Forbes Ave., Oakland; 412/622-3131, cmoa.org)
THROUGH SEPT. 24/ Not only was Andy Warhol a superstar of the art world, but he was also a fan of celebrities, including movie stars. That interest was sparked right here in Pittsburgh, where a young Andy and his brothers went to neighborhood theaters to catch the latest shows. Also during his youth, Warhol kept up on Hollywood by reading movie magazines and even sending away for photos of his favorite stars, including Shirley Temple. That infatuation with fame continued throughout his life, and his collection continued to grow with more photos, movie posters and other memorabilia. Beside his bed when he died was a biography of Frank Sinatra. Look for treasures from his collection at “Andy Warhol: Stars of the Silver Screen,” which also includes video clips, film excerpts and video diaries that celebrate and examine his personal passion and its contributions to Warhol’s art and to pop culture. The exhibition is curated by Geralyn Huxley, The Warhol’s curator of film and video, and chief archivist Matt Wrbican. (The Andy Warhol Museum, 117 Sandusky St., North Shore; 412/237-8300, warhol.org)
photo by Frank Walsh
by Karen Dacko
Sept. 6-10/ The Glue Factory Project, an initiative of Corningworks, premieres “Six A Breast – the absurd life of women.” Envisioned by choreographer Beth Corning, the evening-length dance theater production unfolds in skit format, delivering poignant and punchy vignettes that explore social conventions from the female perspective. Guest performers include Sally Rousse, a ballet dancer/aerialist, and Laurie Van Wieren, a multidisciplinary conceptual performing artist. (New Hazlett Theater, 6 Allegheny Square East, North Side; 412/320-4610, corningworks.org)
Sept. 23/ Butler Community College welcomes Bodiography Contemporary Ballet Company and its adjunct BCB3 for an evening of new and repertory works. On tap are premieres by Pittsburgh-based troupe members and dance professor Meg Schriffen, who performs with North Carolina-based Bodiography Charlotte. Excerpts from ballets choreographed by company director Maria Caruso complete the program. (Succop Theater, 107 College Drive, Butler; 724/284-8505, bodiographycbc.com)
Sept. 29/ slowdanger and Gia T. Cacalano present “imprints,” a shared program featuring independent and joint works. slowdanger, a multidisciplinary duet, performs “tether,” which examines the give and take within a close relationship. “No Edges,” performed solo by Cacalano, an improvisational movement artist, explores themes of acquire and divest. Their improvisational collaboration focuses on the impact of repetitive gesture on mind and body. (SPACE, 812 Liberty Ave., Downtown; 412/325-7723, slowdangerslowdanger.com)
Sept. 29-Oct. 1/ Texture Contemporary Ballet, founded in 2011 by Pittsburgh native and former Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre member Alan Obuzor, is dedicated to producing contemporary and neo-classical ballets created by resident and guest artists in a supportive environment. This month, the troupe performs “Suspended Menagerie,” choreographed by St. Louis-based dancer Robert Poe as part of “Boundless,” an evening of new and repertory works. (New Hazlett Theater, 6 Allegheny Square East, North Side; 412/320-4610, newhazletttheater.org)