The Grand Parade (of the 20th Century), at the Paramount Center through Sunday
Think for just a moment of the events that define the 20th century: the atomic bomb, AIDS, the Kennedy assassination. It’s a sprawling history and one Double Edge Theatre conjures in a new ArtsEmerson show, drawing from the surreal style of Russian artist Marc Chagall, who lived through most of the century, to take us on a grand parade through prohibition, war, jazz and disco.
An internationally touring show, “The Grand Parade” is a feast of imagery, movement and sound, but presented without any spoken word dialogue. In collapsing the 1900s into an hour-long performance, Double Edge determined migration was one of the century’s greatest themes, and director Stacy Klein and the cast aim to mythologize that story. With the cast swinging through the air, singing and dancing, there’s levity in a show that could otherwise be consumed with the century’s grimmest moments.
“A myth is not something that people are horrified by,” said Klein, “it’s something that encourages one to think or to work with.” And more importantly, she said, to ensure history is not repeated anywhere but on stage.
Don Giovanni, at the Boston Lyric Opera through May 10
The classic Mozart opera has gotten an update, set in quasi-modern time with a Hollywood feel and the cast often in cocktail dresses and jackets instead of period pieces. But it still asks the old question: is Don Giovanni a roaming gentleman or a psychopath for the way he cycles through women?
Australian baritone Duncan Rock plays the title character, and despite six turns as Don Giovanni in various productions, including one set in a gay nightclub, still hasn’t settled on an answer.
"In a way, he’s sort of like a tofu character in that he adopts the mannerisms, and he sort of is a chameleon in that sense, of everything around him,” Rock said.
Boston Lyric Opera presents Don Giovanni living his life as he sees fit, but the story unfolds largely told from the perspective of two-dimensional female characters, like Elvira, who follows Don Giovanni until the end, when she asks him to change his promiscuous ways not for her, but for his own good.
Dior and I, in theaters Friday
This is the latest documentary from Frédéric Tcheng, of “Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel” and “Valentino: The Last Emperor,” that gets the viewer behind the scenes of one of the most renowned French fashion houses and to the heart of process.
Here Tcheng takes us to 2012, when Raf Simons, formerly a minimalist designer for Jil Sander, is tapped to be the creative director for Dior. It was an unlikely choice for a house that shaped feminine ideals after World War II. He has just eight weeks to pull together his haute couture collection, and we see how it comes together, how he’s inspired by art, and how he deals with all the stress. It’s fascinating how Tcheng juxtaposes what a then 44-year-old Christian Dior went through in 1947 to present his first collection with Simons’ experience more than 60 years later.
The Avengers: Age of Ultron, in theaters now
It’s the first blockbuster of the summer season and a surprisingly thoughtful one. All the Avengers (Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, The Incredible Hulk, Black Widow and Hawkeye) are back for a sequel to the 2012 original. When billionaire inventor Tony Stark's plan for world peace goes awry, the result is the computer-generated baddie Ultron, voiced by James Spader. Ultron questions the Avengers’ ideals by posing the question, how can the team establish peace when the Avengers themselves are killing? It's a provocative thought amid typical, big-budget Marvel mayhem.