Acting Up

THU 2/27

Nine years after the Zapatistas' armed uprising made international headlines, Chiapas, Mexico's southernmost state, is still a politically charged place. But now, the revolution will not be televised. Instead, a Mayan women's theater collective is exploring many of the same sociopolitical issues on stage, through female eyes. La FOMMA an acronym for Fortaleza de la Mujer Maya, or "Strength of the Mayan Woman" comes to Arizona State University on Thursday, February 27, for one special performance of Crecí con el amor de mi madre (I Was Raised With My Mother's Love). It's a domestic drama about an alcoholic man and the wife and daughter who struggle to deal with him. Like the group's other productions, the play was written by La FOMMA members and uses women actors for both female and male roles.

Professor Tamara Underiner, who helped bring the group to ASU, says that the tale portrays women's traditional roles in a radicalized way. "They're reclaiming the home as a site of political change," she says. Sounds like they're reclaiming the theater, too.

The 4:30 p.m. performance is free at the Old Main Ballroom, 400 East Tyler Mall on the ASU Main Campus in Tempe. Call 480-965-7323 for details. -- Michele Laudig

SUN 3/2

Freedom Sings
Benefit concert goes native

It's the kind of story that puts to shame televised battles for "survival." In 1987, an estimated 17,000 boys ages 4 to 18 set out to flee an escalating war in southern Sudan. Over the next 14 years, the boys trekked more than 1,000 miles, half of them succumbing to starvation, predatory wildlife and army attacks. Several thousand of the surviving refugees, dubbed the "Lost Boys of Sudan," have settled in the U.S., 300-some in the Valley. About 40 of these young men have formed Sudanese Voices United and will perform native tribal dances and drumming on Sunday, March 2, at a benefit concert for Beatitudes Center DOAR (Developing Older Adult Resources). Tower of Power trumpeter Jesse McGuire follows with a performance of jazz and patriotic selections.

Showtime is 2:30 p.m. at Church of the Beatitudes, 555 West Glendale in Phoenix. Concert tickets are $15 in advance, $20 at the door; proceeds support DOAR's programs aiding housebound seniors and the disabled. Call 602-274-5022 for tickets. -- Jill Koch

2/27 - 3/2

Hung Like a Bobcat

That may be Bobcat Goldthwait's 400-foot penis on The Man Show, but there's more to the comedian/director/arsonist than a monstrous member. See all of him this weekend, as he headlines at the Tempe Improv, Thursday, February 27, through Sunday, March 2.

Playing Zed in the Police Academy movies made Goldthwait famous; torching Jay Leno's chair made him infamous. With a résumé longer than Bobby Brown's rap sheet, he's voiced perv bunny Mr. Floppy and played himself on The Simpsons. He also starred in an HBO special, Bobcat Goldthwait: Is He Always Like This? Yeah, he is.

Showtimes are 8 p.m. Thursday, February 27; 8 and 10 p.m. Friday, February 28, and Saturday, March 1; and 8 p.m. Sunday, March 2, at the Improv, 930 East University in Tempe. Tickets are $17 to $20; call 480-921-9877. Kim Toms

MON 3/3

Love is a Battlefield

The pen may be mightier than the sword, but the libido is stronger still. So reasoned Greek playwright Aristophanes, who, in the fifth century B.C., penned Lysistrata, an anti-war comedy about women who unite to end a war. Their tactic? Refusing to have sex with their husbands until the men lay down their swords.

Nearly 2,500 years later, the play is at the heart of the Lysistrata Project, hailed as the "first-ever worldwide theater event for peace." On Monday, March 3, 679 readings staged in 40 countries will voice opposition to war in Iraq while raising money for peace and humanitarian organizations.

Locally, Stray Cat Theatre will join the "theatrical act of dissent" by staging an 8 p.m. reading of Lysistrata 2411 A.D. at the Scottsdale Center for the Arts. According to director Ron May, the "campier retooling" of Aristophanes' classic allows for improvisation from the cast, which includes Patti Hannon (Late Nite Catechism) and Jon Gentry (Angels in America and Gray's Anatomy). Admission is free, and donations benefit Witness, a human rights advocacy program. Call 480-820-8022 for reservations.

Additional Lysistrata readings are planned at Phoenix College, ASU and the First Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Paradise Valley. See for details. Jill Koch