Three promising shows for the coming week, including Dina Martina and “Yankee Pickney.”
As theatergoers are well aware, the phrase “autobiographical solo show” can dredge up contradictory feelings: hope and dread. When those kinds of shows are powerful and deft, they can knock the scales right off your eyes. When their performers seem pleading and solipsistic, you’ll leave the theater with an awful case of misanthropy. Fortunately, “Yankee Pickney,” by Jéhan Òsanyìn, is one of the former. “Pickney” is supposedly about Òsanyìn’s ordeal after her best friend was shot to death. But, like other great solo shows, it bends the borders of its original conceit and gets into brave and murky territory, from her being shuttled off to Jamaica as a kid to an interaction in a Kenyan market that shocked Òsanyìn into realizing she was “white-people black.” Òsanyìn’s dog Garvey takes the stage at one point, violating the old W.C. Fields rule of “never work with animals or children” — but in “Yankee Pickney,” Garvey is an unexpectedly charming asset to a story about race, violence and identity that needs to be heard. Through April 1, Theater Schmeater, 2125 Third Ave., Seattle; $24-$30 (800-838-3006 or brownpapertickets.com).
‘Milk Like Sugar’
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Three teenage girlfriends yearn for babies and luxury consumer goods in this Village Voice/Obie Award-winning play. Seattle Times critic Misha Berson writes: “Their bravado, laced with ignorance and neediness, makes Kirsten Greenidge’s well-received, extended one-act ‘Milk Like Sugar’ a vivid, humorous but also saddening experience. The Seattle debut of the play at ArtsWest Playhouse is marred by uneven acting and direction, but not wholly undermined by it.” Through March 25, ArtsWest, Seattle; $33-$37.50 (206-938-0339 or artswest.org).
Dina Martina: ‘Fine Avec Me’
The tail end of this winter might feel gloomier than a funeral, but Re-bar has been jamming with the freaky, drag-comedy therapy Seattle needs. Earlier this month brought the bizarro, ’80-kitsch-drag show “Ms. Pak-Man.” Now Dina Martina — the long-reigning queen of the drag-comedy scene, from here to New York — is opening “Fine Avec Me,” which promises to be another surreal and hilarious adventure with the belovedly deluded character who thinks she’s a nightclub star. Her endearing incompetence is her secret superpower. March 17-April 8, Re-bar, 1114 Howell St., Seattle; $22 (800-838-3006 or brownpapertickets.com).