Hamlet: Kitchen Dog Theatre stirs up an autumn blast of theatrical introspection with its production of Hamlet, one of Shakespeare's most-produced tragedies. It's also one of his least understood. This means that, unlike Romeo and Juliet or Othello--straightforward Shakespearean studies of human nature that should be mothballed for a few decades so they can be rediscovered--audiences can virtually always find something fresh in its tale of a man consumed by anger. Unfortunately, careless actors and directors can always find something to screw up, but Kitchen Dog Theatre imports Toni Dorfman, who directed 1993's masterful KDT production of Death and the Maiden, so Dallas audiences should be in confident theatrical hands. This version features an ensemble of eight actors performing multiple roles with no Elizabethan costumery to smother the dialogue. Hamlet runs Thursday through Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. through November 3 at the McKinney Avenue Contemporary, 3120 McKinney Ave. Tickets are $8 to $14. Call 953-1055.
World Music With Miguel Antonio and Friends: The sounds contained in this "world music" presentation go beyond most Texans' experiences with Latino music. The show goes back to Latin roots with flamenco guitarist Miguel Antonio, Paraguayan musician Lorenzo Gonzalez, and the vocal stylings of the Chilean singing troupe El Quarteto de Chileno. The evening kicks off at 8 p.m. at the Bath House Cultural Center, 521 E. Lawther. Tickets are $8, and seating is limited. For more information call 670-8749.
Thrillvania and Screams: In case you didn't know, Texas is considered the haunted-house capital of the country; out-of-state entertainment fat cats pour big bucks into our Halloween-themed amusement. The big new innovation is the "terror theme park," which offers a veritable Six Flags Over Texas of haunted houses, stage performances, spooky hayrides, and more. These are the diversions offered by two sprawling operations that present their inaugural season this year in locations outside of Dallas. Thrillvania opens today and operates evenings through October 31, just south of Interstate 20 on Wilson Road in Terrell. For general information call 559-5779. Screams offers previews to the public September 27 and 28 for $10; opening night is October 3, and doors are open all evenings, except Mondays, through Oct 31. Screams is 30 minutes south of Dallas near Waxahachie. For directions and info call 1-888-3-SCREAM.
Arlington Public Library Book Sale: Why is it that the same conservatives who champion a return to the Dead White Males of European and American literature are the first to slash funds for public libraries at the local level? They should be thrilled that any kid with an address can wander into a local library and borrow all the Milton, Shakespeare, and Twain he or she wants. Maybe a privatization of our library system would be the best bet, since libraries all across the country suffer from outdated materials. Get something back for your donation at the Arlington Public Library Book Sale, which features more than 50,000 items at rock-bottom prices. The sale happens September 27, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; September 28, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and September 29, noon to 5 p.m. at the George W. Hawkes Central Library, 101 E. Abram in Arlington. Call (817) 548-9768.
State Fair of Texas: You can clock the arrival of a Texas autumn with the opening of the State Fair of Texas, the place where many of us city slickers saw our first cow (and for that matter, our first real-life cowboys). What the 1996 edition of the State Fair boasts besides foot-longs, cotton candy, and nausea-inducing rides, is an amazing lineup of top-drawer musical acts for its Miller Lite main stage performance series, including big-boned gal Wynonna, the Neville Brothers, Emilio, and Delbert McClinton. Since each of these shows is free with a State Fair ticket purchase, expect a larger than usual knot on key nights. The State Fair of Texas opens with its usual fanfare on September 27 at 10 a.m. and runs through October 20. For complete information on the range of ticket prices and events, call 421-8716.
Wild Goose Chase: Members of acclaimed Contemporary Dance/Fort Worth and the theater department of Texas Christian University pool their talents to create a weekend that combines avant-garde dance with one-act drama. Perhaps sensing the elusive nature of this recipe, they've called the stew Wild Goose Chase (dance and other adventures). The bill features three choreographers and five dancers, as well as two playwrights with one play each. Included are Susan Douglas Roberts' Voices Rising, which combines Shakespeare and the British author Jeanette Winterson; Mercy Sidbury's The Evolution of Drama, a dance duet choreographed to themes from Alfred Hitchcock movies; and Steven Alan McGaw's Blah, Blah, and More Blah, about a man trapped in an airport coffee shop with a fellow who won't shut up. Performances happen September 27 and 28 at 8 p.m. in the Studio B Theatre of the Ballet & Modern Dance Building, University Drive and Bellaire Drive on the campus of Texas Christian University. Tickets are $3 to $7. Call (817) 921-7000.
Celtic Heritage Festival: In late 20th-century America, the phrase "tree hugger" is an anti-environmental insult; in the pre-Christian Celtic period, it could describe the prevailing sentiment of nature-worshiping pagans who never thought a tree was just a tree. Journey back with us to that Druidic neverland with the Celtic Heritage Festival. The real pull of this event probably isn't the inevitable arts and crafts booths and live musical and dance performances; it's the representatives of 20 Celtic clans who gather at individual booths to offer anyone who can trace his or her roots back to Cornwall, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales information about family origins. Events happen September 28, noon to 10 p.m., and September 29, noon to 6 p.m., at the Bedford Boys Ranch Park, Forest Ridge and Highway 121. Tickets are $5; kids younger than 10 get in free when accompanied by an adult. Call (972) 496-3064.
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