Theater: Jake Gyllenhaal at the Public
Through March 31, publictheater.org.
Jake Gyllenhaal was already a movie star in 2012, when he first set foot on a New York stage, playing a ne’er-do-well in Nick Payne’s “If There Is I Haven’t Found It Yet.” In 2015, when Gyllenhaal made his Broadway debut, it was as a bumbling lover in Payne’s brainy-romantic “Constellations.”
“A Life” is their latest collaboration, with Gyllenhaal as a man whose heart is too mired in mourning to love the way he needs it to. A monologue, it’s part of a double bill directed by Carrie Cracknell, in previews for an opening on Thursday, Feb. 14, at the Public Theater in Manhattan.
The other half of the program is “Sea Wall,” written by the Tony Award winner Simon Stephens and starring Tom Sturridge — Gyllenhaal’s co-star in the new Netflix movie “Velvet Buzzsaw” and a veteran of Stephens’s savage “Punk Rock.” Stephens here is far more tender, yet no less aware of mortality: Even in a sun-dappled life will come a moment when the ground falls abruptly away. LAURA COLLINS-HUGHES
Film: ‘Everybody Knows,’ a Tangled and Tense Thriller
The Iranian director Asghar Farhadi knows his way around the intricacies of a marriage, as witnessed in “The Salesman” and “A Separation,” both Oscar-winners for best foreign-language film.
Now, in “Everybody Knows,” Farhadi moves the melodrama to a small town in Spain, where Laura, played by Penélope Cruz, has returned from Argentina — but without her spouse — for her sister’s wedding. During it, Laura’s teenage daughter is abducted.
Javier Bardem (Cruz’s real-life husband) is Paco, Laura’s winemaking former lover, whose search for her child forces long-buried secrets to the surface. Tangled and tense, with moving performances from its romantic triangle, “Everybody Knows” opened the Cannes Film Festival in May, where it was nominated for the Palme d’Or.
“Everybody Knows” opens Friday, Feb. 8, in New York and Los Angeles, with a national rollout to follow. KATHRYN SHATTUCK
Dance: Kathy Westwater With Music by Julius Eastman
Feb. 14-16; newyorklivearts.org.
For more than 20 years, Kathy Westwater has pointed her choreographic lens on pain and the body. In the premiere of “Rambler, Worlds Worlds A Part,” presented by Lumberyard Center for Film and Performing Arts and New York Live Arts, she explores the possibility of documenting the experience of intense pain or grasping the depth of another’s.
A cast of seven brings the stage to life with music by the revered post-minimalist composer Julius Eastman. Along with Ms. Westwater’s movement, which she described in an artist’s statement as dealing with “articulations of the body that vacillate between organized and disorganized,” the music is also key: “Rambler” features performances by the pianists Joseph Kubera, a collaborator of Eastman’s, as well as Adam Tendler; the composer and musician M. Lamar will also play an original composition in tribute to Eastman. For Ms. Westwater, it seems there’s more to pain than suffering. GIA KOURLAS
Classical Music: A Storied Dutch Orchestra Returns to Carnegie
Feb. 14 and 15; carnegiehall.org.
When the storied Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra of Amsterdam last performed at Carnegie Hall a little over a year ago, it was to display its relationship with a new music director, Daniele Gatti, who was appointed in 2016.
Gatti was originally scheduled to conduct the Concertgebouw in its return to Carnegie for a two-night stint this week. But in August, following accusations of sexual misconduct reported in The Washington Post, Gatti was fired by the orchestra. (He has since been appointed as the music director of the Rome Opera.)
Instead, the ensemble will be led by the compelling British conductor Daniel Harding for two programs: On Thursday, it will perform symphonies by Mozart and Brahms and, for a Schumann overture, will be joined by members of the National Youth Orchestra of the United States of America. On Friday, the Concertgebouw will play Strauss’s “Ein Heldenleben,” a new work by Guillaume Connesson and Beethoven’s “Emperor” Concerto with the pianist Pierre-Laurent Aimard. WILLIAM ROBIN
Art: Don’t Eat Meals at ‘Al’s Cafe’
Through May 12; hammer.ucla.edu
To make his influential 1969 piece “Al’s Cafe,” the Los Angeles-based conceptual artist Allen Ruppersberg rented and furnished a commercial storefront, printed up menus and served his friends evocative but inedible small assemblages. It was at once a joke, a provocation and an attempt to expose the unexpected mystery of the ordinary American diner.
“Allen Ruppersberg: Intellectual Property 1968-2018,” which originated last year at Minneapolis’s Walker Art Center and opens this week at Los Angeles’s own Hammer Museum, is a wide-ranging retrospective that follows Mr. Ruppersberg’s odd but obsessive focus through five decades’ worth of art, literature and pop culture. WILL HEINRICH
Pop Music: Thundercat at the Blue Note
Feb. 12 to 17; bluenotejazz.com.
On his records, music by Thundercat — the stage name of bassist and bandleader Stephen Bruner — sounds like pop: experimental, but with tight arrangements and slick production. Performed live, his songs morph into extended jams that spotlight Bruner and his trio’s remarkable virtuosity. With the keyboardist Dennis Hamm and the drummer Justin Brown, Bruner can easily captivate festival-sized crowds with swirling improvisations and cathartic grooves.
That fact could make his decision to take on a six-night residency at Greenwich Village’s minuscule Blue Note club seem counterintuitive — his last New York shows, after all, were two sold-out nights at the cavernous Brooklyn Steel club in 2017. But it promises a slate of yet-to-be-announced guests who will likely span this Los Angeles native’s ties to both jazz and pop. NATALIE WEINER
TV: ‘Pen15’ Survives Middle School
Feb. 8; hulu.com.
Maya and Anna are 13-year-old BFFs living the seventh-grade version of their best lives, circa 2000: unrequited crushes, mean girls, first cigarettes, second base and all the super embarrassing body stuff. You feel their angst.
But the punch line of “Pen15,” debuting Friday, Feb. 8, on Hulu, is that its awkward, slouchy, dental appliance-adorned heroines are played by the 31-year-old actresses Maya Erskine and Anna Konkle, while their tormentors are actually middle-school age.
Created by Erskine and Konkle with Sam Zvibleman, “Pen15” captures the exquisite despair of adolescence in comedic, poignant story lines, like when positive male attention after a new haircut isn’t what it seems, or a kissing enactment between My Little Pony figurines incites a tornado of masturbation.
But the best-friendship between Erskine and Konkle, who met while studying abroad in Amsterdam through New York University, soothes those growing pains. Or, as Anna sums it up for Maya in the first episode, “You are my rainbow gel pen in a sea of blue and black writing utensils.” KATHRYN SHATTUCK