May 21, 2019

The Week in Arts: Renée Zellweger as aTemptress; Tilda Swinton and her Daughter as Co-Stars

The Week in Arts: Renée Zellweger as aTemptress; Tilda Swinton and her Daughter as Co-Stars


Through July 29; sculpture-center.org

Jean-Luc Moulène designed his 28-foot-long fiberglass sculpture “More or Less Bone” in consultation with French aerospace engineers. In trying to find an efficient solution to an arbitrary mathematical problem, they arrived at a shape as functional-looking as a crowbar. It’s not that it isn’t complicated. But its gaps, crossbeams and pockets are all connected with a minimum of fuss, and its bulges are smoothed out as if to resist currents of air or blood. Just what the object’s practical purpose could be, on the other hand, is difficult to imagine — unless it’s to occupy the gorgeous former trolley repair shop in Long Island City that now houses the nonprofit SculptureCenter. That it does to perfection. WILL HEINRICH

Through June 9, redbulltheater.com

A hunger for hegemony doesn’t pair well with sugar and spice, so ambition is one of those cravings that girls are taught to regulate. But in Erica Schmidt’s “Mac Beth,” girls clad in their school-uniform jumpers enact one of the most blood-soaked tales of ruthlessness in the canon, morphing into the Scots of Shakespeare’s “Macbeth.”

Presented by Red Bull Theater, which has a boldly revivifying way with the classics, Schmidt’s contemporary adaptation uses Shakespeare’s text and an all-female cast of seven. Isabelle Fuhrman — who gave a thoughtfully nuanced performance two years ago as a teenager in Schmidt’s Off Broadway dramedy “All the Fine Boys” — stars as Macbeth, opposite Ismenia Mendes (“Marys Seacole”) as Lady Macbeth. AnnaSophia Robb (Hulu’s “The Act”), in her stage debut, plays one of the witches. In previews at the Lucille Lortel Theater in Greenwich Village, it opens on Sunday, May 19. LAURA COLLINS-HUGHES

May 24; Netflix.com

These days, the trendiest accessory for Hollywood hotshots is a streaming series of their own. And now Renée Zellweger has hers.

In Netflix’s “What/If,” a neo-noir social thriller from Mike Kelley (“Revenge”) debuting on Friday, May 24, Zellweger purrs as Anne Montgomery, a ruthless San Francisco venture capitalist and cunning femme fatale.

“Nothing worthwhile is ever achieved without sacrifice,” she scolds, her pillow lips pursed with determination. “And true greatness only comes to those willing to pursue it at any cost.”

And pursue she does. Her prey: Sean Donovan (Blake Jenner), a former baseball pitcher, and his scientist wife, Lisa (Jane Levy), who find themselves in Montgomery’s silken clutches after she offers to finance Lisa’s foundering medical start-up in exchange for a steamy night with Sean.

Well, how could a couple of cash-starved dreamers resist? With only two episodes available for review, it’s hard to know where the series, with its overtones of “Indecent Proposal,” is headed. But Zellweger slinks through them with a pantherlike eroticism we’ve seldom seen from the “Bridget Jones” star, and it suits her. KATHRYN SHATTUCK

May 21, 22, 28, 29; performancespacenewyork.org

In Ligia Lewis’s unflinching “Blue, Red, White” triptych, color expresses more than a visual element. Her consideration of race and melancholy led to “Sorrow Swag,” the first dance, which was awash in blue light and seen in New York at Abrons Arts Center in 2016.

Now, the No Series at Performance Space New York hosts the second and third parts of the triptych by Lewis, a Berlin-based dance artist born in the Dominican Republic. In the second part, “minor matter” (May 21-22), the color is red and the focus is on the space between love and rage.

The finale, “Water Will (in Melody),” May 28-29, in the spirit of a Southern gothic melodrama, continues her investigation into the link between the body and the black box space of the theater. While this is the most explicit work in the series, it is also the most abstract. It comes down to Lewis’s provocative question: How does white exist in relation to black? GIA KOURLAS

May 17

The director Joanna Hogg and the actress Tilda Swinton have known each other since they were 10. When the childhood friends met in Scotland to talk about “The Souvenir” — a memory piece woven from Hogg’s life — and Swinton’s role as Rosalind, the mother character, there was still a missing piece. Who would play Julie, the daughter?

Then Hogg had a brief encounter with Swinton’s own daughter, Honor Swinton Byrne, and saw Julie in front of her, she said at the Berlinale in February.

In “The Souvenir,” Byrne shimmers as a shy and uncomfortably upper-class filmmaker in early 1980s London who falls for Anthony (Tom Burke), a dandyish underling in the Foreign Office who is also a heroin addict. His charismatic arrogance burrows into her insecurities, while his self-destructive tendencies threaten to destroy her along with him.

Hazy, poetic and spilling over with aching romanticism, “The Souvenir” exposes the raw nerve of the kind of desperate love that changes lives. It opens on Friday, May 17, in New York and Los Angeles with a national rollout to follow. And the story isn’t finished: Byrne and Swinton have signed on to make “The Souvenir: Part II” with Robert Pattinson. KATHRYN SHATTUCK

May 19, carnegiehall.org

The National Symphony Orchestra, a stalwart Washington institution that often goes underrecognized, does not play Carnegie Hall particularly often: Its last appearance was in 2013, as part of the Spring for Music festival. But fallout from Italian musical politics has created an opportunity, and an engagement in the hall on May 19. The conductor Gianandrea Noseda had been scheduled to conduct the Teatro Regio Torino company in a Verdi opera at Carnegie, until he clashed with its administration and resigned as director there last year. Instead Noseda will lead the National Symphony — which has steadily improved since he became its music director in 2017 — in Liszt’s “Dante” Symphony and Rossini’s “Stabat Mater,” joined by the University of Maryland’s Concert Choir. WILLIAM ROBIN

May 20; ticketfly.com

When Julia Michaels was nominated for Best New Artist at last year’s Grammys, she wasn’t actually new at all. The singer-songwriter, now 25, began penning songs for TV as a teenager; along her path to the solo spotlight, she earned writing credits on chart-toppers like Justin Bieber’s “Sorry,” Selena Gomez’s “Good For You,” and Nick Jonas’ “Close.”

Then, Michaels wrote a song too personal to hand off to another artist. “Issues,” her 2017 breakout, is a surprisingly ebullient ode to relationships complicated by mental issues — a topic that she unpacks further on songs like “Happy,” from the “Inner Monologue Part 1” EP released in January. Michaels plays Bowery Ballroom on Monday in support of the EP, but she clearly has her sights set higher: “I wonder if we’ll ever play arenas,” she recently mused to Twitter followers. OLIVIA HORN



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