Weekend Roundup: “Dancing at Lughnasa” and “Thank You for Smoking”

We’re over the midterm hump, so if you aren’t spending all weekend in rehearsal or practice for a spring performance or team, you have no excuse not to get out.

Head to the Arden Theater to see what we hear is a wonderful production of Brian Friel’s “Dancing at Lughnasa,” a sad, er, poignant and ultimately life-affirming drama about five sisters living in poverty in 1930s Ireland. Not quite a knee slapper, perhaps, but Friel has a real gift for creating deeply sympathetic and realistic characters, and his language stretches to impressive poetic heights without ever seeming pretentious. (We think it’s too arty to call a “tear-jerker,” but perhaps it goes in that sort of general direction.) Performances are at 8:00 Friday and Saturday, and at 2:00 Saturday and Sunday. See http://www.ardentheater.org for more information.

On the lighter side, you can see the new independent film, “Thank You for Smoking” at the Ritz starting this weekend. A satire based on the Christopher Buckley book and directed by Jason Reitman about a very successful tobacco lobbyist, the New York Times calls it “glibly funny and eager to please.” We don’t think that’s a good thing, exactly, but it sounds like something fun that manages to not be stupid but still not require much in the way of mental effort. Which is good. We do enough thinking during the week. Starring Aaron Eckhart, Maria Bello, and Katie Holmes.

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