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Weekend Roundup: Iraqi women and British conductors

By
February 10, 2006

We here at Weekend Roundup had a realization recently. You know how this column always tells you to get out of the library/Paces/dorm/whatever and explore the wilds of Philadelphia? And always offers at least two (uh, usually two) options for entertaining, enlightening, and affordable exploits? Well, we have to confess something. We don’t get off campus too much ourselves. Those concerts of which we speak of so enthusiastically? Not there. Until now! We made a resolution to actually get off campus this semester, and so far it has been terrific. So trust us here and jump off the cliff that is the train station. Just do it early if you want to go shopping, because stuff in Philly tends to close at about 7:00. Yeah, it sucks.

The Wilma Theater is currently presenting Heather Raffo’s acclaimed one-woman play, “Nine Parts of Desire.” A semi-documentary piece, it explores the lives of a diverse assortment of Iraqi women, ranging from a rebellious teenager to an artist who worked for Saddam Hussein to a conflicted ex-patriot. All are embodied by Jacqueline Antaramian in an outstanding performance. The play’s strength lies in its ping of authenticity, achieved through Raffo’s sometimes heart-wrenching writing (she is Iraqi-American) and Antaramian’s sympathetic and wildly different characters. Unfortunately, director Kate Saxon seems to have felt the need to tart up the piece with some strange transitions, but the set and particularly the lighting design are excellent. Student rush tickets are $10.

Also on the “high culture” side of things, conductor Sir Simon Rattle is currently in the middle of a three week residency with the Philadelphia Orchestra. This week, the program is Mozart (the Piano Concerto No. 27) and Walton (the Symphony No. 1). Alfred Brendel is the pianist. Weekend Roundup’s anonymous Philadelphia Orchestra-rehearsal- attending sources say that it will be an outstanding concert, and judging from Sir Simon’s astonishing work with the orchestra last week, there is enormous potential. The concert is Friday and Saturday at 8:00 at the Kimmel Center on Broad Street, and student rush tickets can be bought for $8 starting at 7:00. Remember your ID.

Have a great weekend! We promise more lowbrow fare next week. Maybe.