LOL Baltimore Improv Group has two shows coming up this week, each involving unexpected partnerships. April 16, BIG hits the Creative Alliance (3134 Eastern Ave.,  276-1651) for a performance with dance troupe The Collective. Two days later, BIG teams up with Black Cherry Puppet Theater (1115 Hollins St.,  752-7272) for a kids' show. For dance minus the yucks, head over the Load of Fun (120 W. North Ave.,  843-6896) April 17 for Load of Dance: Local Dancemaker Series to watch some really talented people shake it.
Word Play The Stoop Storytelling Series, as always, has a tale to tell. The April 19 show at CenterStage (700 N. Calvert St.,  332-0033) is titled Creation Stories. The concert reading series continues at CenterStage (with Motti Lerner's Benedictus, Caryl Churchill's Seven Jewish Children, and Tony Kushner's Only We Who Guard the Mystery Shall Be Unhappy. Kushner won a Pulitzer prize for Angels in America and this piece should be interesting, too—it centers on a meeting between Laura Bush, an angel, and some dead kids. And Spotlight UB and VoX Theatre explore virtual communication in a one-man show by Darren Goins called Double Tap April 20 at the University of Baltimore (Student Center Performing Arts Theater, 21 W. Mt. Royal Ave.,  837-4200).
Opening It seems like every theater in the city is kicking off a play this week. Rep Stage (Smith Theatre, Howard Community College, 10901 Little Patuxent Parkway, Columbia, (410) 772-4900) gets out ahead of the pack with On the Verge or the Geography of Yearning April 14-May 2 about three time-traveling Victorian ladies. Hamlet contemplates suicide and homicide courtesy of the Baltimore Shakespeare Festival April 16-24 at St. Mary's Outreach Center (3900 Roland Ave.,  366-3106). Glass Mind Theatre's Antartica takes you to the South Pole April 16-May 2 at Mobtown Theater (3600 Clipper Mill Road,  367-3057). At Fells Point Corner Theatre (251 S. Ann St.,  276-7837) love, marriage, and stillbirth receive a comic treatment in Christopher Durang's The Marriage of Bette and Boo April 16-May 2. Run of the Mill Theater tickles August Wilson's ivories with Piano Lesson April 16-25 at Theatre Project (45 W. Preston St.,  752-8558). And David Mamet's Speed the Plow/skewers Hollywood at the Vagabond (806 S. Broadway,  563-9135) April 16-May 16.
Closing If you want to double your Durang, this is your weekend. In Durang's Shorts, the premiere performance by the Iron Crow Theatre Company, closes April 17 at Emmanuel Episcopal Church (811 Cathedral St.,  685-1130).
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