LONG GONE LONESOME
Last spring, the National Theatre of Scotland staged the riveting military epic Black Watch in the unlikely but apt Broadway Armory. Now the Scots return with this story of a Shetland Islands fisherman who posthumously hits it big as a country music star. Expect more thinking outside the black box: Where better for tear-in-beer ballads than The Hideout?
2/2-4 Sort of the Henry Darger of country music, the Scottish fisherman Thomas Fraser left behind thousands of homemade country and blues recordings when he died in 1978. A quarter century after his death, his music took Nashville by storm. Fraser’s story comes courtesy of the National Theatre of Scotland, playing in the intimate confines of The Hideout. $25–$35. National Theatre of Scotland at The Hideout, 1354 W Wabansia. chicagoshakes.com.
Photograph: Rebecca Marr
Dance audiences, usually 100 percent less active than the performers onstage, will be asked to execute a few leg lifts as they follow this local experimental troupe through the Harris Theater’s lobby, backstage, freight elevator, and restrooms. Wear sensible shoes.
2/4 True to its site-specific mission, the experimental local collective kicks off its tenth anniversary with This Is Not a Dance Concert, a one-hour roaming performance in the Harris Theater’s lobby, restrooms, freight elevator, backstage area, and, finally, on the actual stage. The Chicago fashion designer Maria Pinto created the street-meets-couture costumes. At 7, 8:15, and 9:30. $20. Harris Theater, 205 E Randolph. harristheaterchicago.org.
Photograph: William Frederking
INTERNATIONAL CONTEMPORARY ENSEMBLE
George Lewis—trombonist, composer, MacArthur genius, and modern-jazz pioneer—leads a program of his own works, plus pieces by those who followed in his wake. It’s a rare opportunity to catch this Chicago native live—and how cool is it to see a group called ICE in February?
2/5 The Chicago-born experimental composer, jazz trombonist, and former MacArthur fellow George Lewis joins ICE for a program featuring his work and the work of composers inspired by him, including premieres by Steve Lehman and Tyshawn Sorey. At 3. $10–$28. Museum of Contemporary Art, 220 E Chicago. mcachicago.org.
Photograph: Michael Hoefner
When it premiered in 2008, Tracy Letts’s bite-size tale of an Uptown doughnut shop might as well have been called September, coming on the heels of his Pulitzer-winning tornado August: Osage County. The tiny Mary-Arrchie Theatre Co. doesn’t have the buzz or the budget of Steppenwolf, but this production should give Donuts a chance to come into its own—and gives those who missed it a second shot at tickets.
2/13-3/25 While in the throes of August: Osage County frenzy, the playwright Tracy Letts penned an intimate tale of a depressive doughnut shop owner and a manic young man who bounds in demanding a job. If August was an emotional epic, Donuts is a worthy chamber opera. Previews 2/13–15; $10. Regular run $18–$22. Mary-Arrchie Theatre Co at Angel Island, 735 W Sheridan. maryarrchie.com.
POLAR ADVENTURE DAY
Speaking of ice, embrace the freeze with this daylong lineup of ice-carving demos, winter-themed storytelling, snowshoeing, and a sled dog meet-and-greet on Northerly Island. It’s all free—which is more than you can say for your February gas bill.
2/18 Witness Jim Nadeau and his team create ice carvings, and say hello to Siberian huskies and birds of prey. Then warm up indoors with winter tales from storytellers and live jams from Old Town School of Folk Music players. And then get cold again tromping around Northerly Island in your free borrowed snowshoes. Sat noon–4. Northerly Island, 1400 S Lynn White. chicagoparkdistrict.com.
Photograph: Courtesy of the Chicago Park District