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It's Martha Stewart in Hell

SUN 5/9

Already we can hear the devoted fans of Martha Stewart rushing in their Hush Puppies to her defense, wooden spoons raised, cries of foul play arising from their placid hearts. Well, take it somewhere else, please. Not since Mommie Dearest has there been such a popular villainess, someone whom we wanted so badly to see ruined. Maybe if she'd stumbled once in a while on the way up, she wouldn't have become the OxyClean-freebasing maniac whose power fetish turned the world's Most Perfect Hostess into its most unlikely convict. On the upside, though, we may finally get to see her in something other than clam gray (orange jumpsuits say: "I'm not afraid of color"), and her case provides plenty of fodder for satirists who can't wait to tease the bitch who made a generation of women, and certain men, feel inadequate. One such theater group is Acme Players Ensemble, "the Bay Area's newest and smallest theater company." The troupe saw so much material in Ms. Stewart that it ventured to produce a full series on her, Martha Stewart in Hell, which chronicles her rise and demise through a series of performances scheduled throughout this year. Angelina Liu stars in the role of Martha. Armed with a collection of skits, docudramas, monologues, and even cooking demonstrations, she hopes to somehow give a full-spectrum portrayal of a woman who on camera often appears one-dimensional. For the May 9 Mother's Day show, writer and director Jordan Winer features a special guest, "Mrs. Stewart Sr.," opening a porthole to the domestic diva's fictitious past, plus a what-if courtroom scenario that plops Martha in the hot seat as if she had testified at her trial (she actually did not), playing out the question marks beneath the powdery veneer for all to see. We'd have to say it's a good thing.

Martha Stewart in Hell, episodes 1 and 2, take the stage Sunday at 7 p.m. at the APE Space, 2525 8th St. at Dwight, Berkeley. Admission is free, but donations are welcome. For further info, e-mail director Winer at hypedrama@aol.com --Justine Nicole



Dance Intuit

As usual, the Destiny Arts Youth Performance Company pulls no punches in its latest production. The fourteen young women of INsight take on identity, racism, sexism, body image, and more, asking their own tough, self-generated questions with spoken-word, modern, hip-hop, and aerial dance, and martial arts. The whole thing is stitched together by "broadcasts" from Radio D-E-S-T-I-N-Y, "the conscious station on a mission to bring the invisible into sight." Performances start at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 3 p.m. Sunday. The shows happen at the McClymonds High School auditorium, 2607 Myrtle St. in West Oakland, and tickets cost $12 for adults, $6 for those younger than eighteen. Group rates are available; call 510-597-1619 for further information. -- Stefanie Kalem


Concord Booty

Johnny Depp? Who needs him? Orlando Bloom? That pretty boy?! He can stick it in his quiver. Willows Theatre has the real booty this month -- Ara Watson's adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson's classic swashbuckler, Treasure Island. In the last days of the American Revolution, young Jim Hawkins boards the doomed pirate ship Hispaniola, and encounters more butchering buccaneers, powdered wigs, fight choreography, and frock coats than you can chuck a gold doubloon at. Richard Elliott directs and Joseph Midyett and Julian López-Morillas star. Tuesday through Sunday evenings, with matinees Wednesdays, Saturdays, and Sundays. 1975 Diamond Blvd., Concord, 925-798-1300, WillowsTheatre.com -- Stefanie Kalem


You Gauguin

The name of the Polynesian dance ensemble Te Mana O Te Ra translates as "energy of the sun." The award-winning Walnut Creek-based troupe, which performs a wide variety of dances from French Polynesia (and also offers classes), shoots some sunshine up the DLRCA this weekend with Varua ... the Spirit of Tahiti. Expect the sound of the conch shell, Tahitian drums, and a whole lotta hip rotation. The show takes place at 8 p.m. Friday and 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday, and tickets cost $18 for seniors and youth, $23 for everyone else. Dean Lesher Regional Center for the Arts is located at 1601 Civic Dr., Walnut Creek. Call 925-943-SHOW or visit DLRCA.org for tickets and information. -- Stefanie Kalem


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