Stage Highlights

Get your tickets for the symphony's Belshazzar's Feast, those Ten Tiny Dances, and "another gay play."

The Last Sunday in June

The original tag for Jonathan Tolins' The Last Sunday in June was "Another Gay Play," a subtitle sure to evoke for those acquainted with the form a strong set of associations: an apartment, smartly if economically appointed, around which sit four or five or six gay men, familiar types all, to some extent sharing a humidly sexual history, secretly bitten by struggles with shame, identity, desire, and longing for a more than fleeting intimacy. Likely the specter of AIDS hovers overhead like Poe's Red Death. Tolins, one of the original producers of Queer As Folk, ups the allegorical ante by setting his play's action on Gay Pride weekend, injecting the drama with a searing intelligence and ironic self-awareness that deconstructs this "gay play" scenario at every step. In the wrong hands, such a dogeared setup might prove wearying, but director David Hsieh has assembled a strong cast who approach the material with just the right combination of satirical bent and earnestness. The story—a group of friends is confronted with an acquaintance's total and utter rejection (or, depending on your outlook, betrayal) of gay life—raises a series of troubling questions about gay identity; each character is so well-drawn and well-acted that the compounding conflict has a profoundly existential resonance. Though Last Sunday has a sitcom look and feel, its issues (promiscuity, self-hatred, post-gay/post-pride politics, monogamy, self-determination, to thong or not to thong) are nonetheless treated with a sincere and dignified air of authenticity, wrapped in the organic flow of an all-too-human drama and elevated into the realm of the universal. ReAct Theatre at the Theatre Off Jackson, 409 Seventh Ave. S., 206-364-3283, $9-$15. 7:30 p.m. Thurs., 8 p.m. Fri.-Sat., 4 p.m. Sun. Ends Sun. July 2. RICHARD MORIN

Ten Tiny Dances

If a double handful of choreographers presenting their work in a space just slightly larger than a shower stall sounds like a gimmick, you may be partly right, but even the strangest circumstances can lead to some spectacular results. Dance and deal maker Crispin Spaeth has teamed up with Portlander Mike Barber to present a mixed bag of dances all created for an ultra-small stage. Seattle artists include Kristina Dillard, Drew Elliott, Amelia Reeber, Zoe Scofield, and Ms. Spaeth, joined by five choreographers from PDX, for a teeny, tiny evening. Capitol Hill Arts Center, 1621 12th Ave., 206-325-2322, $12-$15. 7:30 p.m. Sat. June 17-Sun. June 18. SANDRA KURTZ

Seattle Symphony

Sex and religion: two great tastes that go great together. At least artists have thought so for centuries. In this tradition is the 1931 Biblical oratorio Belshazzar's Feast by William Walton (pictured), a work of such CinemaScope decadence it surely stirred envy in Cecil B. DeMille's heart, if not Ken Russell's. Gerard Schwarz, who usually cranks pieces like this up to eleven, conducts it alongside Dvorak's patience-trying Violin Concerto (which soloist Julia Fischer might be able to redeem) and the Piazzolla-inspired Last Round by Osvaldo Golijov, many people's nominee for greatest living American composer. Benaroya Hall, Third Avenue and Union Street, 206-215-4747, www. $15-$87. 7:30 p.m. Thurs. June 15, 1 p.m. Fri. June 16, 8 p.m. Sat. June 17, 2 p.m. Sun. June 18. GAVIN BORCHERT

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