Top Things to Do This Weekend: December 19–21
A Christmas Carol
7 p.m. Thurs–Sat, 2 p.m. Sat–Sun, Portland Playhouse, $19–36
Portland Playhouse brings their adaptation of Charles Dickens’ classic to life for a 12th year with original music. Follow Ebenezer Scrooge as he transforms from a crotchety old man to a sympathetic soul through conversations with the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future.
Matilda the Musical
12 & 4:30 p.m. Sat–Sun, Northwest Children's Theater, $16–27
Revolting children, revolting times, delightful tunes. Tim Minchin’s stage adaptation of the Roald Dahl classic—which, between its New York and London runs, snagged 5 Tonys and 7 Oliviers—is in more-than-capable hands with the inventive aesthetes at Northwest Children’s Theater. Ideal preparation: revisiting the Danny DeVito-directed(!!!!) 1996 film as a family, which is somehow better than you remember.
CLOSING: Melancholy Play: a chamber musical
7:30 p.m. Fri–Sat, 2 p.m. Sun, CoHo Theatre, $25–46
Sarah Ruhl wrote Melancholy Play, a brainy, surreal farce about characters who can’t stop talking about their feelings, in 2002 (and the students at Portland Actor’s Conservatory performed it back in 2010). A decade later, Ruhl reworked her play into a chamber musical with help from composer Todd Almond—now, Third Rail brings that version to life.
The Strange Undoing of Prudencia Hart
7:30 p.m. Thurs–Sun, Tiffany Center, $10–50
This “dizzyingly funny” drama (says the Guardian) follows Scottish folklore scholar Prudencia Hart from a literary conference to a run-in with Satan. Staged pub-style in the Tiffany Center, complete with a whiskey list and a dinner menu, Artists Rep brings this buzzy, barrier-busting UK export stateside. It looks like a welcome holiday tonic for anyone suffering Nutcracker fatigue.
12–5 p.m. Fri–Sun, Disjecta, FREE
Portland painter Arvie Smith’s provocative, many-hued show 2 Up and 2 Back is on at Disjecta through the beginning of February. One of the city’s sharpest talents, Smith explores bias, racism, cultural consumption and more, with welcome humor and breathtaking skill.
12–5 p.m. Thurs–Sat, Blue Sky Gallery, FREE
Umbral, Spanish for “gateway,” is the name of Erika Morillo’s grayscale photography collection on display at Blue Sky. It captures tender, idealistic moments from her son’s early life, and puts them in stark contrast to the turbulent household of her youth in the Dominican Republic. Morillo’s studies in psychology and sociology have a heavy influence on her work, which mostly tackles family dynamics and questions of identity. Join Morillo at the gallery for an artist’s talk on December 5 at 5:00 p.m.
11 a.m.–5:30 p.m. Thurs–Sat, Froelick Gallery, FREE
The Massachusetts-born, Portland-raised, Brooklyn-educated painter debuts a new show called Sheesh at Old Town’s Froelick Gallery. Meade’s work—blocky, exaggerated, full of oppressive saturated color—dissects masculine tropes with humor and a dash of the surreal. It’s all there in the NSFW “Pecker,” which you can glimpse on Froelick’s website.