Whether you're mourning the inauguration of a new president or celebrating it, there's plenty to do this weekend and early next week, too. Catch any number of the theatrical productions opening now across the St. Louis area, see a big dance show or just drink up at Urban Chestnut. You can't go wrong as long as you're having fun.
Here are our picks for eight things to do. Interested in keeping the focus on politics rather than turning to art? There's a women's march downtown tomorrow that will sate your need.
1. See a play about Hell
Is hell a place of eternal punishment for the wicked, or is it just other people? The question is complicated by issues of faith and geography — the hell of Dante's Divine Comedy is a far different place than that of the Mayans. Theatre Nuevo has worked up a devised theatrical piece to explore humanity's many iterations of hell, conveniently titled Hell. Using music, movement, personal gnostic revelation and copious research, the cast will present the long journey from damnation to redemption. Hell is performed at 8 p.m. Thursday through Sunday (January 19 to 29) at the Chapel (6238 Alexander Drive; artful.ly/theatre-nuevo). Tickets are $15 to $20.
2. ... or catch one about love
Noted musical philosopher Haddaway had a minor but contagious hit single with his ruminations on love and what it is, but playwright Nick Payne frames the many possibilities of human romantic relationships through a prism of theoretical physics and its conception of the multiverse. Marianne, a physicist, meets Roland, a more regular sort, at a party; there is an undeniable spark between them. In one universe, the two pursue the relationship after the party breaks up. In a parallel universe, they don't. All of the possible permutations of their relationship (potential and real) lead somewhere, and all of these outcomes are contained within Constellations. The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis presents Constellations Tuesday through Sunday (January 20 to February 5) at the Loretto-Hilton Center (130 Edgar Road; www.repstl.org). Tickets are $43.50 to $67.50.
3. .... or about family
Some people — mainly his immediate family — would say Cameron Dobbs is not living his best life. Cameron is alone, timid and reluctant to stand up for himself, but at least he has his 30th birthday to look forward to. What he thinks will be a quiet dinner with his brother Owen and his sister-in-law Abby suddenly becomes both a blind date (courtesy of Abby) and another inquisition conducted by his mother (invited by Owen). But what if Natalie, his blind date, turns out to be just the kick in the pants he needs to jump-start his life? What if she attempts to sneak him out of his own horrible party, and he's too agreeable to say no? Stephen Pierick's play Wake Up, Cameron Dobbs is a sharply-written comedy about taking control of your life, even if it means saying "no" to your own mother. Kirkwood Theatre Guild presents Wake Up, Cameron Dobbs at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday (January 20 to 29) at the Robert G. Reim Theatre (111 South Geyer Road, Kirkwood; www.ktg-onstage.org). Tickets are $20.
4. Run away with the circus at City Museum
The performers who comprise Circus Harmony may be young, but they're seasoned. They work with Circus Flora every summer, they've combined forces with the St. Louis Symphony and they do regular shows at the City Museum. The company's new show, Bravura, is a chance to showcase their skills in a more expansive spotlight. A king has his crown stolen by a trickster and must track down the varlet. In the course of his acrobatic journey he tries on all sorts of headgear before he can reclaim his crown. Bravura is staged at 2 and 7 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday (January 21 to 29) at the City Museum (750 North Sixteenth Street; www.circusharmony.org). Tickets are $20.
8. Celebrate a great Scottish poet
America has many holidays, but nary a one in honor of a poet (Martin Luther King, Jr. is perhaps as close as we get on that point). Scotland, however, reserves January 25 to celebrate Robert Burns. He wrote of best-laid plans gone awry, of great wars and of our equality as people, regardless of our differences. Special dinners around the nation Wednesday honor his memory. Here in St. Louis, Burns' Night takes place at the Schlafly Tap Room (2100 Locust Street; www.schlafly.com). Tom Schlafly will read a poem of his own composition to mark the occasion at 6 p.m., right after pipers escort kegs of Scotch Ale to the bar. Duddy Breeks plays live music in the Club Room starting at 7 p.m. Wednesday, and the menu will offer a host of filling Scottish delights. Admission is free.