Performance Picks

Melancholy Play

Every now and then, a production comes along that is so superbly executed it floods you with happiness. Sarah Ruhl's contemporary farce, about a young bank employee who affects the lives of a sedate community in Illinois, is just such a piece. Directed by Kristina Sutherland, the show takes all the elements of its timeworn genre and, in a spirit of rebirth and playfulness, injects the form with a pure blast of originality. The small cast is uniformly wonderful, though of extra special note is Desiree Prewitt (pictured) playing the vibrant naif Tilly. She's the dynamo around which everything else spins in absolutely captivating chaos, until it all falls into place. Perfect. Richard Hugo House, 1634 11th Ave., 206-860-2970. $12. 8 p.m. Fri.-Sat. Ends Sat. May 22. RICHARD MORIN

What Remains

Corrie Befort can take small things—the ripple of a wave, the shrug of a shoulder, the shift of muscles in the back—and show them to us as fresh and important. Even in moments of great kinetic power, we recognize tiny details. Her new work (with Beth Graczyk, pictured), a collaboration with composer Tom Baker, is a study in intimacy, and her signature style should be an appropriate lens through which to view it. Velocity MainSpace Theater, 915 E. Pine St., second floor, 206-324-6780. $12-$14. Opens Fri. May 14. 8 p.m. Fri.-Sun. Ends Sun. May 23. SANDRA KURTZ

Craig Sheppard

In his last three piano sonatas, Opp. 109-111, Beethoven's formal and rhetorical inventiveness peaks, and he pushes the bounds of what a piano—and human fingers—can do, compensating for the instrument's lack of sustaining power by writing trills that go on for pages. At the end of the last sonata (an audacious theme-and-variations in which he deconstructs the rhythm, syncopating right into Zez Confrey territory), these trills evaporate into top-of-the-keyboard stardust. It's an otherworldly close for Craig Sheppard's monumental seven-recital series of all 32 sonatas. Even the unevenness of this final trilogy intrigues; the banally pretty first movement of Op. 110 still sounds to me like something Beethoven fished out of Johann Nepomuk Hummel's wastebasket, but if anyone can sell me on it, it'd be Sheppard. Meany Hall, UW campus, 206-543-4880. $8-$10. 7:30 p.m. Tues. May 18. GAVIN BORCHERT

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