Bestiality was never so cerebral as it is in John Harvey's one-woman tale Hotel Pasiphae, the latest offering by local theater troupe Mildred's Umbrella. Inspired by Greek mythology, the play is about Pasiphae (played by Michelle Edwards), daughter of the sun god Helios. Alone on stage, Pasiphae tells her story -- of her marriage to King Minos of Crete, their life at an opulent palace in Knossos and the birth of their four children. Trouble comes along when King Poseidon, master of the sea, offers a white bull to Minos to be sacrificed, and Minos rejects it.
In the mythological version, Poseidon casts a spell on Pasiphae in a fit of rage, making her fall madly in love with said bull. But Harvey's version is different. His is the tale of a woman empowered. "Pasiphae chooses the white bull over her husband and anything human," says Harvey. But her decision to do the dirty with livestock has devastating effects: She suffers from the pain of giving birth to a minotaur (half bull, half man) and abandoning her children to death and misery. "It's not so much that these things aren't horrific, but she's not a victim of it," says Harvey. "In fact, in that horror, there's a beauty." Runs through July 30 at Gremillion and Co. Gallery, 2501 Sunset Boulevard, with a July 25 show at Houston Community College, Northeast Codwell Campus, 555 Community College Drive. For information and a schedule, call 832-418-0973 or visit www.mildredsumbrella.com. $5 to $10. -- Steven Devadanam
Bere'sheet Ballet wants us all to get along
Bere'sheet Ballet artistic director Marie Plauche-Gustin sees dance as a healing art for women facing crises both physical (cancer, chemotherapy) and social (divorce, alcohol/drugs). In fact, she's established a scholarship fund for everything from the purchase of breast prostheses to college tuition and groceries for women in need. But Plauche-Gustin is broadening her scope -- in fact, she's taking on the whole world's problems with her latest show. World Without End is an African-themed dance that focuses on beauty, harmony and truth. But through the dance and an accompanying video, the work also explores how paranoia and suspicion toward others -- simply because they're different -- can destroy us. Credit Plauche-Gustin for not dancing around the issue of race relations. 3 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, July 23 and 24. Jewish Community Center, 5601 Braeswood. For tickets, call 281-550-0002 or visit www.beresheetballet.org. $20. -- Bob Ruggiero
A Perfect 10
In 1996, Tamarie Cooper of Infernal Bridegroom Productions mounted her Tamalalia comedy, which would become Houston's longest-running local musical series. This year marks the show's final curtain call, and Cooper is planning a party for Tamalalia 10. Expect zany numbers like "The Bacon Ballet" and "Tamarie's Ex-Boyfriend Parade" from shows past. Stick around Friday nights after the show for Miss Lily's Drunken Lodge Hall Revue, a wild musical bonanza featuring striptease and fan dancers. And bring some extra pocket money -- Tamalalia memorabilia, a retrospective DVD and a CD of original songs will all be on sale. Show runs at 8 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays, Thursday, July 21, to September 3. The Axiom, 2524 McKinney. For tickets and reservations, call 713-522-8443 or visit www.infernalbridegroom.com. $12 to $35. -- Steven Devadanam
It's a lofty title: "the Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers of Tango." But internationally famous duo Anton Gazenbeeck and Natalie Laruccia deserve it, what with their jaw-dropping moves on the dance floor (and in other realms, from the looks of their steamy choreography). The nubile tandem will showcase tango steps and teach you how to copy theirs. That should come in handy. 8 p.m. Saturday, July 23. Houston Community College, 5601 West Loop South. For tickets, call 713-688-1282. $20 to $25. -- Steven Devadanam