The subject of playwright Sarah Greenmans new Leni, German filmmaker Leni Riefenstahl had the sort of biography that gives you moral/intellectual whiplash. On one hand, she was an acclaimed actress/dancer/artist who also helmed major motion pictures in the 1930s. On the other, her films included Triumph of the Will, a technical masterpiece documenting the 1934 Nuremberg Rally that is also unapologetic Nazi propaganda. At the movies, Riefenstahl was an early innovator of crane and tracking shots, and shes sometimes ranked with Sergei Eisenstein and Orson Wellesbut neither of those guys traded admiring letters with Adolf Hitler or posed in occupied Poland wearing a Nazi uniform and a pistol. Arrested but not tried for war crimes, Riefenstahls postwar life was no less extraordinarysnapping celebrity photos of Mick Jagger and Siegfried and Roy, taking up scuba diving in her 70s, and marrying her longtime boyfriend, 40 years her junior, at the age of 101. There ought to be plenty of life material in the play, directed by Rhonda Soikowski and starring Amy Thone and Alexandra Tavares, who play Riefenstahl at different stages of her long, controversial life. JOHN LONGENBAUGH [See Kevin Phinney's review here.] Erickson Theater Off Broadway, 1524 Harvard Ave., 800-838-3006, www.strawshop.org. $10$25. 8:30 p.m. Thurs.-Sat. Ends Aug. 9.
Thursdays-Saturdays, 8:30 p.m. Starts: July 10. Continues through Aug. 9, 2008