Deep Dish Theater—A lot of attention has been paid to Barack Hussein Obama's full name, and his Harvard Law-by-way-of-Hawaii biography, but relatively little scrutiny has been applied to John Sidney McCain III. Tim Dickinson's Rolling Stone article, "Make-Believe Maverick," made headway in debunking the McCain campaign narrative, telling the story of a hard-partying, under-achieving, Naval Academy student who—much like George Walker Bush—succeeded because of his father, a four-star admiral, but failed to live up to his accomplishments. As Dickinson puts it, "Both represent the third generation of American dynasties. Both were born into positions of privilege against which they rebelled into mediocrity."
The late Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Wendy Wasserstein's final play, Third, explores another third-generation brat who, like McCain, bears his pedigree in Roman numerals. But Woodson Bull III (played by Jake Bowden) takes his rebellion into a very different direction from Bush and McCain: a relentless pursuit of the truth. Like Dickinson, Wasserstein sought to debunk myths—in this case, the myth of the white, male student-athlete, and the progressive-minded English professor. Third (as Bull is referred to) turns in a brilliant analysis of King Lear, and Professor Laurie Jameson (played by Kerry Shear) accuses him of plagiarism. So begins the topical drama of Third, itself a modern take on the world-upside-down absurdity of Lear. The show's director is Hope Hynes Love, who previously helmed the well-received Boy Gets Girl and Eye of God, and is the artistic director at East Chapel Hill High School. For a refreshing reprieve from the campaign trail, stop by for Deep Dish Theater's latest offering, which opens tonight and continues through Nov. 15, at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesdays and Thursdays, and at 8 p.m. Fridays to Sundays, with a 2 p.m. Sunday matinee. Tickets range between $16-$18 for adults, $12-$14 for students. Call 968-1515 or visit www.deepdishtheater.org. —Matt Saldaña
Hesperion XXI with Jordi Savall
Memorial Hall at UNC—Jordi Savall is one of the modern masters of the viola da gamba, a bowed, fretted instrument developed in the 1400s. (Technical note: They are tuned in fourths with a major third in the middle, similar to the contemporary six-string guitar.) Here, with his Barcelona-based early music ensemble, Savall explores the musical parallels in Cervantes' classic tale, Don Quixote. The vocalists of La Capella Reial de Catalunya and Spain's lauded soprano Montserrat Figueras help flesh out some of the most enduring musical riches of the Spanish Renaissance, and provide a perfect foil to the current exhibit El Greco to Velazquez: Art During the Reign of Phillip III at Duke's Nasher Museum of Art.
This is one of only three performances of its kind nationwide, and narrated by actor F. Murray Abraham. Don't miss out. The show starts at 7:30 p.m. and tickets range from $10-$65. —Chris Toenes