An African play with universal appeal
Talk about an arresting performance: When South African actors Winston Ntshona and John Kani first performed their play, Sizwe Banzi Is Dead (co-written with Athol Fugard), in 1972, the government detained them. But they continued to perform the play, even sharing a Tony Award for Best Actor (an unprecedented event) at the 1975 ceremonies. Some 30 years on, Ntshona and Kani are still telling their touching political tale of an itinerant worker who masquerades as a dead man in order to love. Though the days of apartheid in South Africa are long over, director Aubrey Sekhabi says the play still can speak for "anyone living under an oppressive system anywhere in the world." At 7:30, through April 19, BAM, Harvey Theatre, 30 Lafayette Avenue, Brooklyn, bam.org, 718-636-4100, $20–$60
Nothing but feeling
There's no doubt that Austin's Explosions in the Sky play music that we in the rock-critical complex like to call "post-rock." For starters, they do without the vocals (that tired rock-era relic), and though they aren't free of a flair for memorable melodies, their music is defined not by compact hooks, but by long, dramatic crescendos and intricate, lengthy stretches of instrumental interplay. Yet perhaps more than any of the band's post-rock peers, EITS conceive their stuff as a conduit for emotion with a capital E, which is the primary reason they've developed a healthy sideline as film-score composers; their soundtrack for 2004's Friday Night Lights managed to make high-school football seem pretty epic. With Lichens and Ola Podidra. At 7, Terminal 5, 610 West 56th Street, terminal5nyc.com, $17
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