GARY SCHNEIDER His enormous portraits—his first in color—are made in the dark over a period of time, during which Schneider illuminates his subject's face bit by bit with a tiny, constantly moving flashlight (reflected in the eyes as galaxies in miniature). What results is the opposite of Thomas Ruff's hyper-realist headshots, not just because Schneider's sitters emerge like specters from the darkest night, but because their slightest movement is recorded as a Picasso-like melting of features. Yet even the most distorted and masklike faces feel extraordinarily, poignantly present—an illusion as compelling as it is transparent. THROUGH APRIL 19, Julie Saul Gallery, 535 West 22nd Street, 212-627-2410. (Aletti)


'SHE STOOPS TO COMEDY' Writer-director-actor David Greenspan's new work puts a new super-spin on Shakespeare's already gender-bent As You Like It: An actress (played by Greenspan) schemes to win back her ex-lover by playing Orlando to his Rosalind. In other words, boy plays girl playing boy, opposite girl playing boy who plays girl . . . who plays boy. Gynecologists are requested to keep their cell phones turned off during the performance. Greenspan's onstage colleagues include Mia Barron, T. Ryder Smith, and the eminent E. Katherine Kerr. PREVIEWS BEGIN THURSDAY, Playwrights Horizons, 416 West 42nd Street, 212-629-8510. (Feingold)

Remote control: tune in for another perspective on "War Culture," including Ward Sutton's "That’s Entertainment" (see open city).
illlustration: Ward Sutton
Remote control: tune in for another perspective on "War Culture," including Ward Sutton's "That’s Entertainment" (see open city).

'STONE COLD DEAD SERIOUS' Your typical American sitcom family may not look so typical in the hands of playwright Adam Rapp, the new generation's nihilist chronicler of exurbia. In his version, Mom works double shifts, Dad's forever on the couch recuperating, Junior's a super-solitary computer whiz, and dropout Sis lives on the streets, visiting occasionally to steal something worth hocking. Will a trip to NYC save this family? Probably not in any way that makes our tourist bureau happy. Carolyn Cantor's production for Edge Theater Company features Betsy Aidem, Guy Boyd, Gretchen Cleevely, and Matt Stadelmann, at least three of whom have trekked through the family insanities of prior playwrights, and should hence be ready for Rapp's. IN PREVIEWS, OPENS MONDAY, Chashama Theatre, 135 West 42nd Street, 212-206-1515. (Feingold)

'TALKING HEADS' Playwright Alan Bennett's gallery of English eccentrics initially tooted their solo horns as a TV series, but were so juicily actable that they found their way onto the British stage. A batch of them duly found their way to L.A., where director Michael Engler (responsible for some jolly romps on and off Broadway before he was engulfed by television) marshaled them into the current assemblage: six monologues that play in alternating programs of three each. For New York, Engler's rounded up a castful of exactly the kind of strong actors we don't see onstage often enough: Kathleen Chalfant, Daniel Davis, Christine Ebersole, Valerie Mahaffey, Lynn Redgrave, and Brenda Wehle. IN PREVIEWS, OPENS APRIL 6, Minetta Lane Theatre, 18 Minetta Lane, 212-307-4100. (Feingold)


'THE PSA FESTIVAL OF NEW AMERICAN POETS' Two evenings, 20 poets—you could do verse. Double-dippers can, e.g., experience both David Berman's virtuoso aphasia ("I am not a cub scout seduced by Iron Maiden's mirror worlds") and Rachel Zucker's reimagined Persephone ("He gives me the wedding band of the real world/a story with pockets and mirrors"). Others in this lavishly gifted gathering include Timothy Donnelly, Matthea Harvey, Brenda Shaughnessy, and Rebecca Wolff; four of the score are the PSA's inaugural Chapbook Fellows. TUESDAY AT 7:30 AND APRIL 9, Tishman Auditorium, 66 West 12th Street, 212-254-9628. (Park)

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