The Chris Schussler Incident, Pacific Northwest Ballet, and Byron Schenkman

The Chris Schussler Incident

Playwright Scot Augustson's latest makes all the easy pop references you'd expect from a play set in 1978—mood rings, Silly String, Magic 8-Balls—and it isn't much more than a lightly pensive flashback on the order of The Wonder Years. Yet this short memory play has a fine cast and a bittersweet, nostalgic levity; it feels right when it's funny. Susanna Burney, Stephen Hando, and Stacey Plum (left to right) play fourteen-year-olds in Los Alamos, New Mexico who play hooky together one afternoon after Burney's notorious "spazzing" in science class results in her suspension. As in Gilgamesh, Iowa, the soft-hearted Augustson piece she also helmed, director Keri Healey sometimes stomps Augustson's sentiments into mush, though she has a good grasp of what's affecting about teenagers letting down their guards in a more innocent era. Augustson's protagonists are daunted, daring outcasts—there's tender humor when Burney allows Hando to pose in her mother's wardrobe—who just might not make it to a triumphant adulthood. "Sad truth is, we're not all swans," sighs Plum at the evening's denouement. There's a deeper play to be made from such a melancholy statement but, in the meantime, it's always good to hear that someone else knows how hard it is to get from there to here. Chamber Theater, 915 E. Pine St., fourth floor. $14. Pay-what-you-can Thurs. Feb. 3. 8 p.m. Thurs.-Sat. Ends Sat. Feb. 19. STEVE WIECKING

Pacific Northwest Ballet

Igor Stravinsky may have been a radical composer, breaking conventions and traditions, but he wrote amazingly danceable music. This triple bill features three scores from his early 20th-century career with Serge Diaghilev's Ballet Russe—two ("Firebird" and "Rite of Spring") with new productions, and one ("Apollo," pictured, with Patricia Barker and Stanko Milov) with Balanchine's original choreography. All three works ride on the mercurial rhythmic spine that Stravinsky's scores provide. McCaw Hall, 321 Mercer St., 206-292-ARTS. $20-$137. Opens Thur. Feb. 3. 7:30 p.m. Thurs-Sat. Also 2 p.m. Sat. Feb. 5 and 1 p.m. Sun. Feb. 13. Closes Sun. Feb. 13. SANDRA KURTZ

Byron Schenkman

For Schenkman—one of the country's most accomplished period-instrument keyboardists—to have become recently interested in playing contemporary music on the grand piano is surprising. For him to play 18th-century repertory on a modern instrument is akin to Bob Dylan's electric apostasy at the 1965 Newport Folk Festival, except that the early-music crowd is nothing if not well-mannered—there will probably be very little booing (though he may want to take his phone off the hook for a couple of weeks.) Violinist Andrea Schultz and cellist Michael Finckel join Schenkman for trios by Haydn. Mozart, and Beethoven. Town Hall, 1119 Eighth. $13-$18. 7:30 p.m. Thurs. Feb. 3. GAVIN BORCHERT

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