* You might want to hang out at Metro this weekend, especially if you’d like to try Rattlesnake in its Culinary Arts Building. That’s at 7:30 p.m. Friday on the Metropolitan Community College Fort Omaha Campus. It’s not culinary exotica but an original play-acted by its author John Hardy, playing 14 characters. He’s written many plays and recently toured as George in John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men . One critic called this one “sinuous, mean theater” and another said Hardy “needs no props to convince you of the reality of his world,” which includes a lonely man’s bonding with some rattlers. And you need only $10 at the door, unless you’re a Metro student because then it’s free. It’s free for everyone on Saturday when James McLindon, author of Distant Music, that superb play in the Downtown Space, appears at Metro at 1 p.m. for a workshop. He’ll do a talkback after the Brigit Saint Brigit production that evening. * It’s also all new the following weekend when the Circle Theater presents the regional premiere of The Year of Magical Thinking, Joan Didion’s moving portrayal of grief and loss with Barb Ross doing the one-woman show at the Central Presbyterian Church starting Feb. 18. And the Omaha Community Playhouse mounts the first local production of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, opening the same day. You’ll see more on both the Didion drama and the musical next week. * This isn’t the first or last time I’ll beg forgiveness for the odd enjoyment I get from an enthusiastic press release, but one sentence in the news from The Nebraska Bellydance Spectacular was especially intriguing. It read: “The boldest and brightest stars of the Midwest bellydance scene will answer the question: What is beauty?” That takes on more meaning when we read that too often folks confine their bellydance fantasies to the slim and shapely figure from “I Dream of Jeanie.” So I suspect we’ll be invited on March 26 to the Holland Center to appreciate more ample and varied shapes that answer that age-old question. The producer, Christina Kadlec, who performs as Magdalena, advises that it all “goes much deeper than just some flirtatious wiggling.” Apparently bellydancing features many styles, but some good old-fashioned “Turkish cabaret” goes deep enough for me. But I doubt they’ll let us smoke hookahs in the Holland. Cold Cream looks at theater in the metro area. Email information to coldcream@thereader.com.


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