Creative Exorcize

It took Joye Sass four months to write her play. But she's spent half her life coping with the rape that inspired Demons, written and directed by Sass, which opens at the Paper Heart Gallery on Friday, March 12. Sass, 37, wrote Demons four years ago. "But I wasn't ready for it to be shown yet," says Sass, a rape survivor of nearly 20 years. "I think, on a very spiritual level, this play has helped me find a little bit of closure." Demons tells the story of Clair (played by Candice Stanton), a rape survivor disengaged from the life she once had. The multimedia production depicts the imagery of Clair's rape on a video screen, then returns to the stage as she struggles with the voices in her head. The video subtly implies a violent rape, but the language is graphic.

Tickets are $15 Friday (to benefit CASA and Crisis Nursery) and $10 for Saturday's performance. Showtime is 8 p.m. at the gallery, 750 Grand Avenue. Call 602-262-2020 for reservations. -- Joe Watson

Dream Theater
Shakespearen production receives a '50s makeover

"The course of true love never did run smooth," quoth either Lysander or Richie Cunningham, we forget. Apparently, North Valley Community Playhouse director Jeana Whitaker also sees philosophical similarities, for she sets Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream squarely in 1950s America. And really, is Bottom's donkey head any more absurd than a greaser's pompadour? We agree with Puck -- "Lord! What fools these mortals be."

Audiences are invited to pack a picnic lunch for any of three Saturday noon performances, March 13, 20 and 27, in the outdoor courtyard of Blessed Sacrament Church, 11300 North 64th Street. Admission is $12 for adults, $8 for children and seniors. For more information, call 602-296-4707 or see -- Kim Toms

Center Dance sets Magic in motion

Who among us hasn't sought to express our emotions through the magic of interpretive dance? Very few attempt it, thankfully, for dance in the wrong hands might well give new meaning to the term "trampled underfoot." Much better to leave it to the professionals, as will be the case when Center Dance Ensemble performs Myth, Music and Magic, Thursday, March 11, through Sunday, March 14, at the Herberger Theater Center, 222 East Monroe. An interpretation of the Mexican folktale La Llorona and a performance of In Passing danced to Mozart's "Fantasy in D Minor" headline a production also featuring guest appearances by Scorpius Dance Theatre and the University of Arizona's Claire Hancock. Tickets are $11 to $22. Call the Herberger box office at 602-252-8497. -- Craig Wallach

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Kim Toms
Craig Wallach
Joe Watson