'AIR RAID' Before even seeing the performance, you can give the prize for astute revival selection to the National Asian American Theatre Company for choosing poet Archibald MacLeish's 1938 radio play, which dramatized for Americans back then, in a scarily impassive mock-documentary tone, exactly what was happening in Europe. Those who want to know what it's like before we start doing it to Iraq had better take the opportunity while they can; governments that wage unilateral wars are famous for discouraging works of art that question the results. NAATCO's production, directed by Stephen Stout, is the broadcast work's stage premiere; the cast's known quantities include Michi Barall and playwright Han Ong. IN PREVIEWS, OPENS SUNDAY, HERE, 145 Sixth Avenue, 212-647-0202. (Feingold)

'GOLDA'S BALCONY' Indomitable, outspoken, and impervious to criticism, Golda Meir, the Milwaukee schoolteacher who became prime minister of the state of Israel, was one of the most admired--and in some quarters most reviled--women of her time. Playwright William Gibson (The Miracle Worker, Two for the Seesaw) spent eight months with her in 1977. The anodyne result didn't stay long on Broadway, with Anne Bancroft, in '77­'78. But both Broadway and the Middle East were different then. Gibson's new script, culled from his conversations with Meir, is likely to be franker--and who better to incarnate frankness than Obie winner Tovah Feldshuh? Scott Schwartz directs. IN PREVIEWS, OPENS MARCH 26, Manhattan Ensemble Theater, 55 Mercer Street, 212-925-1900. (Feingold)

'HASHIRIGAKI' Gertrude Stein and the Beach Boys were both from California, but for any further connections they have to each other, or to the Japanese calligraphic style that gives this piece its title, you'll have to inquire of composer-director Heiner Goebbels, whose production for Theatre Vidy-Lausanne is the source of their linkage. Passages from Stein's epic novel The Making of Americans crisscross with Brian Wilson's instrumentals from Pet Sounds. London and L.A. liked the result; what we'll make of it remains to be seen. Wednesday through SATURDAY, BAM Harvey Theatre, 651 Fulton Street, Brooklyn, 718-636-4100. (Feingold)

'MIDNIGHT'S CHILDREN' The traumatic hour in 1947 when India became an independent nation set off conflicts that still reverberate: between old and new, Asian and Western, colonial and third world, Hindu and Muslim. Born at the moment of independence, the hero of the novel that made Salman Rushdie famous has the telepathic power to hear the inner voices of all sides. Rushdie's stage version of his teeming book, made in collaboration with Simon Reade and director Tim Supple, has been brought over by the Royal Shakespeare Company, for a limited run in one of New York's more reverberant venues. OPENS FRIDAY, THROUGH MARCH 30, Apollo Theater, 253 West 125th Street, 212-307-7171. (Feingold)

'BEAU SIA'S WHATEVER' A fine conundrum you've gotten yourself into, eh Beau? Spouting your verse on a Broadway stage, night after night after night. Surely the Playbill format is
problematic--what about the spontaneity? Sia's own event is shaping up as a release of sorts for the Def Poetry Jam gang--who rush in after each Tuesday-evening performance for, well, whatever. Slamming and spinning and shenanigans, oh my! DJ Tendaji, who also shines on the big stage, sticks around for an after-party for the after-party until 2 a.m. TUESDAY AT 10:30, Bowery Poetry Club, 308 Bowery, 212-614-0505. (Snow)

CHARLES KEIL + ROBERT CHRISTGAU The inimitable musicologist Charles Keil's latest collaboration, Bright Balkan Morning: Romani Lives and the Power of Music in Greek Macedonia, locates the hybrid vigor of so-called Gypsy music as heard against a complex, multiethnic landscape. Keil champion and Voice music sage Robert Christgau engages him in a spirited discussion--perhaps leading to the ideal of kefi, a sort of "contemplative 'emotional engrossment.' " WEDNESDAY AT 6:30, New School, 66 West 12th Street, fifth floor, 212-229-5488. (De Krap)

'STONE READER WEEKEND EVENT SERIES' When director Mark Moskowitz finally read 1972's The Stones of Summer in 1998, he became obsessed with finding out what happened to its author. His documentary Stone Reader, a bibliophile's delight, now plays amid the glitz of the Deuce, where a literary salon follows each matinee. This weekend: Martin Roper, telling tales out of school (the Iowa Writers' Workshop, from whence Mossman emerged), and Kate Moses, author of the acclaimed Wintering: A Novel of Sylvia Plath. SATURDAY AND SUNDAY AT 11 A.M., AMC Empire 25, 243 West 42nd Street, 212-398-3939. (De Krap)

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