Tom Stoppard's Artist Descending a Staircase has been called "the perfect radio play." Originally produced on BBC radio in 1972, Stoppard's quirky murder mystery opens in the 1970s, goes backward 50 years or so and then forward. Stoppard later added stage directions. Whether Stoppard's works are performed onstage or on radio, they're always full of delicious language, intriguing characters and provocative ideas. The Alley Cat Players are performing Artist Descending along with a new play by Ned Averill-Snell, Emeralds in an Onion Field, an absurd comedy about two men, Edward (Averill-Snell, right) and James (Jimmy Chang, left), who find themselves trapped in a featureless room, forced to deal with each other as they try to escape. The two one-acts will be performed Friday through June 28 on the patio of Viva La Frida! Cafe and Galeria, 5901 N Florida Ave., Tampa. Curtain is at 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Tickets are $10 general admission and $7 for seniors and students. On June 23, there's a special "Artists' Night" production with tickets for $5. Call (813) 231-8478.
- MARTY CLEAR, Times correspondent
"Stomp' to romp in Tampa again
Stomp returns to the Tampa Bay area for a fifth time this week, for eight performances at the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center, beginning Tuesday.
The show, which unfolds in front of a scaffolding hung with hubcaps, oil drums, auto bumpers, road signs and other junkyard detritus, is a 90-minute rhythm-fest without narrative, incorporating matchboxes and Zippo lighters, pots and serving spoons, plumber's plungers, a metal tape measure and a saw, among other things.
Shows are at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday through June 19, 8 p.m. June 20, 5 and 9 p.m. June 21 and 3 and 7 p.m. June 22 at the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center, Tampa. Tickets: $18-$52. (813) 229-7827 or toll-free 1-800-955-1045.