Cheap Thrills

MANSON FAMILY MATTERS: A dramatic tour de force by a pair of stellar Tucson playwrights hits the big stage, as the Upstairs Theater Company unveils The April Project.

The depths of unlikely love in the dusty barrio are plumbed in Virginia Street, by Toni Press. In The Good Old Days, Press goes on to explore that niggling little question, "Who's to blame for history's atrocities, those who ordered it, or those who took the orders?"

The thorny dilemma is hashed out within the venerable Tower of London by an ethically troubled bunch including a member of Charles Manson's family, a Vietnam solder and General Custer.

In Rebecca Million's Sleeping Dogs Lie, a courtroom provides the bitter backdrop for a penetrating, working-class romp through the trial of a man accused of domestic violence. The taut dialogue raises a squirming smorgasbord of questions about the potential for bedlam when our profound individual differences are ignored.

Show times are 8 p.m. Thursday, April 10 through Sunday, April 20, with 2 o'clock Sunday matinees, in the Tucson Center for the Performing Arts, 408 S. Sixth Ave. Tickets are $10, $6 for students, and available at the door or by calling 791-2263.

AND MORE GLASS: Yes, this week the Old Pueblo is truly home to all things transparent. Raw Gallery crashes headlong into the action with Going Forth By Day, featuring new works by Jerry Flanary in collaboration with Amy Andrews, Dan Enwright, Steve Hansen and Rob Jenkins.

The creative cadre employs a host of techniques, ranging from lampworked glass, core-formed and blown vessels to sand casting, with a focus on "the ancient Egyptian consciousness of the continuity beyond physical existence."

And if that's not enough to fill your cup, Raw's artist opening will feature Middle Eastern dancers, along with plenty of exotic food from that arid land.

Exhibit runs through Sunday, April 13, with an artist reception from 7 to 10 p.m. Friday, April 11, in Raw Gallery, 43 S. Sixth Ave. Regular gallery hours are 1 to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday, during Thursday Night Art Walks and Downtown Saturday Nights. Call 882-6927 for details.

FRENCH PRATFALLS: The Tucson Parks and Recreation Community Theatre gears up for a little brie-laced fun with Mad for Moliere. The French playwright was "the originator of slapstick," says Performing Arts Director David Felix. "And it's more accessible than Shakespeare. It should be a really fun afternoon in the park, full of French farce." The show is part of the Parks Department's ongoing Spring Classics series, involving everyone from kids to old-timers, Felix says.

Free performances are 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, April 12 and 13, in the Udall Park Amphitheater, 7290 E. Tanque Verde Road. Repeat performances are April 19 and 20 at Presidio Park, located downtown next to City Hall. Call 791-4663 for details. TW

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