Stage Highlights

PNB's "Eight Encores," American String Project, and Akropolis Performance Lab.

Oedipus

Que sera sera — What will be, will be. Or will it? Akropolis Performance Lab's new adaptation of Seneca's Oedipus, directed by Joseph Lavy, aims to elucidate the conflict between individual free will and destiny, with mixed results. As the play opens, the city of Thebes is consumed by a plague allegedly caused by the murder of the previous King Laius. Oedipus believes he has outwitted the Fate's prophecy that he would kill his father and sleep with his mother. Fat chance. Thinking himself a husband, he's actually a son. Believing himself savior of a city, he's actually the cause of its destruction. Lavy, as Oedipus, uses creative physicality to convey the conundrum he's about to crack along with clever props such as a literal wheel of fortune. The play also boasts exquisite vocal harmonies. But it is not without flaws: Lavy chose to replace Seneca's choral odes with Latin texts that ponder the notion of destiny. But unless one is well versed in this now defunct language, meaning is lost. Still, the question of fate persists. When I was 12 the Ouija Board predicted I would marry Hugh Hefner. As the years have passed this seems less and less likely. But who knows? At the very least Oedipus gives reason to suspect that life is what happens when you're busy making other plans. The historic Beacon Hill estate house of the Washington State Federation of Garden Clubs, 2336 15th Ave. S., 206-XXX. $10-$15. 8 p.m. Fri., June 9-Sat., June 10, and Wed., June 14-Sat., June 17. 2 and 5:30 p.m. Sun., June 11. SUZANNE BEAL

Pacific Northwest Ballet "8 Encores"

For his first year as artistic director, Peter Boal has said that he wanted to program works that people would talk about the next day at the water cooler. From the super-hot Red Angels and the low-flying trapeze work in Kiss, both on this program, his choices have certainly generated a buzz as he tweaks the direction of the company and the expectations of the audience. As a coda to this inaugural season, PNB will dance an evening of the high points, drawn from the works he's added to the repertory. Think of it as a kind of "Cliff's Notes" to '05-'06. McCaw Hall, 321 Mercer St., 206-441-2424, www.pnb.org. $20-$134. 6:30 p.m. Sun. June 11. SANDRA KURTZ

American String Project

It feels as much like an end-of-season graduation party as a music festival: bassist Barry Lieberman and violinist Maria Larionoff annually invite string-playing friends from across the country to join them in playing Lieberman's arrangements of chamber music for (conductorless) full string orchestra. This year's repertory covers a lot of ground for three concerts: nods to birthday boys Mozart and Shostakovich, standards by Beethoven and Dvorak, some 20th-century novelties (an early Rondo and a gorgeous Langsamer Satz by Webern), and even a little fluff by Sarasate. The Project needs only a commissioned premiere to make it a truly festive occasion; most composers I know would salivate to write for such top-of-the-line players. Maybe they could stretch the 2007 budget? Benaroya Recital Hall, Third Avenue and Union Street, 206-292-ARTS, www.ticketmaster.com, www.theamericanstringproject.org. $10-$29. 7:30 p.m. Thurs. June 8-Fri. June 9, 2 p.m. Sun. June 11. GAVIN BORCHERT

 
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