The Woman in Black

Also: Sean Curran Dance Company, Black Folks Guide to Black Folks, Paul Rusesabagina, and Judy Budnitz.

WEDNESDAY

STAGE

THE WOMAN IN BLACK

Theater may be the last refuge of the macabre. Where movies rely on buckets of blood and CGI effects to disgust you into submission, the limitations of the stage force a kind of audience complicity—horror as a two-way street. ACT's minimalist production of Susan Hill's Victorian chiller gets it frighteningly right by teasing and prodding the imagination into glimpsing a ghost up every walkway. Director Jeff Steitzer makes full use of the theater-in-the-round setting to seduce the senses into a state of acute suspense, while Mark Anders and David Pichette, playing multiple roles, have great fun turning the screws as this tale of a haunted house builds to its creepy climax. 7 p.m. Tues.–Thurs.; 8 p.m. Fri.–Sat.; 6 p.m. Sun.; 2 p.m. matinee Sat.; 1 p.m. matinee Sun. Ends Sun., March 6. $15–$35. ACT Theatre, 700 Union St., 206-292-7676. RICHARD MORIN

THURSDAY - SATURDAY

DANCE

SEAN CURRAN DANCE COMPANY

Curran may be an alumnus of the postmodern school, where concept is often content, but he's also a former Irish step dancer, so rhythm and music are still at the center of his choreography. He's been touring with the Amelia Piano Trio recently, sharing programs with them and presenting dances to works in their repertoire. For shows here, Curran is bringing pieces set to Janácek and Bartók, combining his intelligence and kinetic excitement with their danceable rhythms. 8 p.m. Thurs., Feb. 24–Sat., Feb. 26. $37. Meany Theater, University of Washington, 206-543-4880. SANDRA KURTZ

THURSDAY - SATURDAY

STAGE

BLACK FOLKS GUIDE TO BLACK FOLKS

With Dubya busy courting the African-American constituency with "protecting the family" rhetoric, writer/performer Hanifah Walidah (pictured) couldn't have timed her solo piece about homophobia in the black community any better. Her multicharacter plea for inclusion should challenge assumptions that African-American and gay cultures are worlds apart, and will hopefully help to heal the divisions that ignorant outside forces continue to impose on a society capable of thinking for itself. 7:30 p.m. Thurs., Feb. 24–Sat., Feb. 26. $12–$15. Langston Hughes Performing Arts Center, 104 17th Ave. S., 800-838-3006. STEVE WIECKING

TUESDAY

LECTURES

PAUL RUSESABAGINA

Anyone who's seen Hotel Rwanda knows the basic facts of this man's extraordinary accomplishment: In the midst of Rwandan genocide in 1994, he used his influence as manager of a luxury hotel in the nation's capital, Kigali, to save nearly 1,300 refugees from death at the hands of rampaging Hutu forces. While Don Cheadle's performance as Rusesabagina is a remarkable achievement, the real person behind the events is undoubtedly even more compelling. During this rare speaking engagement, he's likely to recount them in his own words, and talk about the genocide's legacy. 7:30 p.m. Tues., March 1. $20. Town Hall, 1119 Eighth Ave., 206-628-0888. NEAL SCHINDLER

WEDNESDAY

BOOKS

JUDY BUDNITZ

Anyone who has shaken hands with the fear involved in having a child will recognize the irony in the title of Judy Budnitz's latest story collection, Nice Big American Baby (Knopf, $23), which should be shunned by uneasy expectant parents. It's not that Budnitz obsessively chronicles all that can go wrong in childbirth and child rearing, but rather that she illuminates the way in which relationships, particularly those between parents and children, can become warped. Those willing to explore the dark underbelly of the myth the book's title represents will find Baby to be fertile ground. 7 p.m. Wed., March 2. Free. Elliott Bay Book Co., 101 S. Main St., 206-624-6600. PATRICK ENRIGHT

 
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