This Week in Arts: Ionesco Gets a Mash-Up, ‘High Maintenance’ Returns | Modern Society of USA

This Week in Arts: Ionesco Gets a Mash-Up, ‘High Maintenance’ Returns

This Week in Arts: Ionesco Gets a Mash-Up, ‘High Maintenance’ Returns

Jan. 23-26,

Eugene Ionesco didn’t love being called an absurdist playwright, but he and his fellow Parisians Samuel Beckett and Jean Genet all found themselves lumped under that banner. While Europe strained to rebuild after World War II, they looked around at the rubble and constructed a strange new form of theater. Out went conventions of language, plot and character; in came works meant to embody the stark illogic and dark comedy of the human condition.

Perhaps by now Ionesco’s own writings could benefit from a bit of dismantling? The Paris-based company Théâtre de la Ville and the director Emmanuel Demarcy-Mota have reassembled some of them into “Ionesco Suite.” Starting performances on Wednesday, Jan. 23, at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, it’s a mash-up of five texts from plays including “The Bald Soprano” and “The Lesson.”

A heads-up to spectators who require a firm fourth wall: When the show ran in Chicago, The Tribune critic Chris Jones warned that it contained “some of the creepiest audience interaction” he had seen in a long while. LAURA COLLINS-HUGHES

Jan. 18.

As the 13th and first female Doctor to helm the BBC’s “Doctor Who,” Jodie Whittaker has the universe at her fingertips. But in “Adult Life Skills,” a zany wisp of a British indie making its U.S. debut on Friday, Jan. 18, in theaters and video-on-demand, she’s the picture of earthbound inertia.

As Anna — on the cusp of 30 and grieving the twin brother who died 18 months earlier — she’s secluded herself in her mother’s garden shed, where she makes whimsical videos starring her thumbs, and shows up for her parks job dressed like a homeless teenager. But the week before her milestone birthday, her mother (Lorraine Ashbourne) gives her an ultimatum: Get a life and get out. Then she puts Anna in charge of Clint (Ozzy Myers), an 8-year-old living out a Western fantasy to detract from his own misery.

Rachel Tunnard adapted this dark comedy from her own BAFTA-nominated short, winning the Nora Ephron Prize for the best female director at the 2016 Tribeca Film Festival. KATHRYN SHATTUCK

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