Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 18 September 2020

Five theatre events in Dubai this August: from improv nights to 'White Rabbit, Red Rabbit'

As theatres begin to reopen, we take a look at five must-see performances happening this month

Live theatre shows are popping up in Dubai again, with a handful of plays lined up for this month. Unsplash 
Live theatre shows are popping up in Dubai again, with a handful of plays lined up for this month. Unsplash 

Theatres, like most of the entertainment world, have had to adapt amid the coronavirus pandemic. So their operators have been streaming past productions to keep the show going.

For many of us, it meant a chance to see Broadway and West End shows that we otherwise would have missed. But watching a streamed performance is hardly a replacement for the real thing. Part of the appeal of live theatre is its ephemeral quality. After all, no two performances are alike.

Knowing that, it becomes easier to keep your phone in your pocket – the only time you look away from the stage is to flip through the programme to find out who’s playing who.

And now, live theatre shows are popping up again in Dubai, where a handful of performances are scheduled to take place this month. Here are five must-sees.

1. 'Together-Apart'

This play of our times is about two women (who barely know one another) who embark on a travel adventure together, but are forced to self-isolate in their hotel room.

Will they survive this phase and end up friends? Or will they do harm to each other out of sheer frustration? The play will be performed at The Junction.

When: Thursday to Saturday, August 6 to 8, 7.30pm. There will also be a matinee show at 3pm on Saturday

Ticket price: From Dh80 per person; Dh60 for couples

Where: The Junction, Alserkal Avenue, Al Quoz

2. Monday Night Theatre: 'Film Noir Improvised'

As part of this murder-mystery evening, improvisers at The Courtyard Playhouse will bring the 1950s film noir genre to life on stage using audience suggestions. From embittered heroes to revenge-bent dames, everything is completely made up on the spot each week, which means no two stories will be the same.

Entry is free, however, if you enjoy it, you can offer a contribution at the end of the performance. Reservations are required.

When: Mondays, 8pm

Ticket price: Free

Where: The Courtyard Playhouse, Al Quoz

3. Wednesday Night Improv: 'Maestro'

Ten actors will flex their improv muscles at The Courtyard Playhouse with a series of scenes, songs and games based on audience suggestions. Those watching will score the performers on a scale of one to five after each round.

Actors with the lowest score will be eliminated. The one who remains at the end will be crowned maestro.

Entry is free and contributions at the end of the performance are welcome.

When: Wednesdays, 8pm

Ticket price: Free

Where: The Courtyard Playhouse, Al Quoz

4. 'White Rabbit, Red Rabbit'

Described by The New York Times as “astonishingly original” and “a playful, enigmatic and haunting show”, White Rabbit, Red Rabbit is the international hit by playwright Nassim Soleimanpour. Since its premiere in the UK in 2011, the play has been translated into more than 25 languages and performed at least 1,000 times worldwide.

The comedy-drama, which will be performed at The Junction, has no director, and a different actor will take to the stage to re-enact the one-man show each night.

The premise behind it is that since its writer, Soleimanpour, cannot leave his native Iran, the actor must receive his script in a sealed envelope for the first time on stage. From then on, the actor and the audience will embark on a surprising journey where anything can happen. There will be an Arabic performance on Thursday, August 13, while the shows on Friday and Saturday, August 14 and 15, will be in English.

When: Thursday to Saturday, August 13 to 15, 7.30pm

Ticket price: From Dh80

Where: The Junction, Alserkal Avenue, Al Quoz

5. 'Circle Mirror Transformation'

This show, by Annie Baker, opened off-Broadway in 2009 and received the Obie Award for Best New American Play. It follows the journey of five characters in theatre classes over the span of five weeks.

In an interview with the Huntington Theatre Company in 2015, Baker said that she "wanted the audience to learn about the characters through formal theatre exercises".

"I knew I wanted there to be excruciating silences. I knew I wanted a doomed class romance that left one character embarrassed and the other heartbroken. I knew I wanted the characters to deliver monologues as each other ... eventually I realised that the fun of the play is the fact that it's confined to this dull, windowless little space."

The play, directed by Sabiha Majgaonkar, will be performed at The Junction.

When: Thursday and Friday, August 20 and 21, 7.30pm; Saturday, August 22, 3pm

Ticket price: From Dh60

Where: The Junction, Alserkal Avenue, Al Quoz

Updated: August 5, 2020 01:14 PM

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