Enjoy the scenery
DUENDE DANCE THEATRE presents another round of original modern dance and theater JAN. 10-18 with Layers and Landscapes. These three- to 25-minute works entertain and challenge with a wide range of subject matter. Highlights include "The Memory Dances," which pairs the poetry of Pablo Neruda with a saxophone soundscape as it delves into the human mind's "creation and recreation of memory." "Ophelia" takes Shakespeare's leading lady and plops her in the bathtub, where she sings love ballads from West Side Story and nude images of supermodel Kate Moss dance across her dead body. $8-$12. Fri.-Sat. 8 p.m.; "just for kids" show Jan. 11, 2 p.m. Conant Performing Arts Center, Oglethorpe University, 4484 Peachtree Road. 404-377-2534. www.duendedance.org.
-- Jerry Portwood
Trio of essentials
The three plays from Essential Theatre's fifth annual FESTIVAL OF NEW AMERICAN THEATRE are all over the map. The comedy Fuddy Mears follows an amnesiac trying to figure out who she is. Georgia Playwrights Award-winner Karen Page's Speaking Nazi, having its world premiere Jan. 15, depicts eccentric Georgians awaiting the Rapture. And The Countess, opening Jan. 22, offers a tale of love and scandal in Victorian England. The festival of plays, staged in repertory at PushPush JAN. 8-FEB. 9, affords a listen to a trio of American theater's freshest voices. $12-$15. Plays in repertory; call for exact dates and times. Wed.-Sat. 8 p.m.; Sun. 3 and 7 p.m. PushPush Theater, 1123 Zonolite Road. 404-892-7876. www.pushpushtheater.com.
-- Curt Holman
In a season when the weather changes every day (make that every 30 minutes) WEATHER ROCKS! (above) at the Center for Puppetry Arts offers cool facts on what makes Mother Nature tick. Yeah, it's basically a kid's show with a plethora of Jon Ludwig-designed puppets -- hand, rod, marionette and shadow. But it's also a swingin' good time, featuring a lively mix of rock, gospel, country, folk and R&B music that veers from sunny melodies to hard-rocking grunge JAN. 9-FEB. 9. $6-$12. Tues.-Fri. 10, 11:30 a.m.; Sat. 11 a.m., 1, 3 p.m.; Sun. 1, 3 p.m. Center for Puppetry Arts, 1404 Spring St. 404-873-3391. www.puppet.org.
In another effort to get youngsters out of the cold and into the theater, the Alliance Children's Theater presents LILLY'S PURPLE PLASTIC PURSE JAN. 11-26. Adapted from the popular children's story, the play tells the tale of a mouse and self-proclaimed "Queen of the World" named Lilly who brings her purple purse to school with all of its treasures. When her favorite teacher confiscates the purse, she seeks revenge. But in true youth-oriented style, our queen eventually makes amends. $12.50-$15. Sat.-Sun. 1, 3:30 p.m. Student performances: $5; Tues.-Fri. 9:45, 11:30 a.m. Alliance Theatre, Woodruff Arts Center, 1280 Peachtree St. 404-733-5000. www.alliancetheatre.org.