Events for the week

march 27
All's Well That Ends Well: The Dallas Theater Center closes its 1996-'97 season with a whisper rather than a bang; one of Shakespeare's more nuanced sex-role comedies with a heroine that makes Titania look like Edith Bunker. Strong-willed Helen chases a man who has sworn his antipathy toward her despite the fact that she has the King of France on her side. Ultimately, she must resort to comic measures that, while not exactly royal, are definitely queenly. Performances happen Tuesday-Thursday, 7:30 p.m.; Friday, 8 p.m.; Saturday, 2 and 8 p.m.; and Sunday, 2 and 7:30 p.m. through April 20 at the Kalita Humphreys Theater, 3636 Turtle Creek Blvd. Tickets are $11-$44. Call (214) 522-TIXX.

march 28
Perfumes: Although the Fort Worth Dallas Ballet is performing artistic director Paul Mejia's Perfumes for the first time this weekend, this is not the first time this multi-composer dance piece has been staged. It debuted in Guatemala during the early '70s and was staged again in Chicago in the early '80s. The piece has been divided into five "roses," or segments, each of which gives off a different scent (composition)--works by Albinoni, Stravinsky, Shankar, Berlioz, and Rodriquez. Also included on the bill are Mejia's Serenade in A and For Five as well as Divertimento No. 15 by George Balanchine. You can get spritzed March 28 and 29, 7 p.m. in Room W104 of the Tarrant County Convention Center, Fort Worth. Tickets are $8.50-$39. Call 1-800-654-9545.

Simpatico: The most loathsome, yet--shall we say--beloved double-crossing losers in American theater have come from the pens of Mamet or Shepard. Of the two, Shepard is the more poetic, the (marginally) more sympathetic, and the one more likely to be remembered (if anybody's still around) a hundred years from now, even if he has been out of the spotlight the last few years. Fort Worth's Stage West presents the North Texas premiere of one of Shepard's most recent plays, a horseracing thriller entitled Simpatico. Five characters whose lives are connected to the track find that an incident in their past has returned to mess up present-day plans. Performances happen Thursday, 7:30 p.m.; Friday, 8 p.m.; Saturday, 3 and 8 p.m.; Sunday, 7:30 p.m. through April 26 at Stage West, 3055 S. University Dr., Fort Worth. Tickets are $13-$16. Call (817) STG-WEST.

Forbidden Comedy: The big opening success of the exhaustively promoted Private Parts has been hailed as proof that, despite the moral watchguards who inhabit the political right and left in the United States, Americans still love a good dirty joke. Of course, the Dallas improv troupe Four Out of Five Doctors, who have a number of sold-out runs under their belt, banked on that long before a major studio gave Howard Stern the green light on his life story. Forbidden Comedy is the name of the Doctors' latest mix of songs and sketches, including the world's longest butt joke and a language lesson about the intricacies of "Honkybonics." The doctors are in Friday and Saturday, 11 p.m., through April 26 at Pocket Sandwich Theatre, 5400 E. Mockingbird Ln. Tickets are $8. Call (214) 821-1860.

march 29
Deep Ellum Arts Festival: The weekend after the arrival of Spring this year is Easter, which means it's even more crucial to explain to the kids what the resurrection of Christ has to do with bunnies and colored eggs--or the Deep Ellum Arts Festival, for that matter. If you're hellbent on finding a holy connection, you could say the festival is concerned with creation--or more accurately, creativity. Crowded in along Deep Ellum's byways will be decorative crafts for sale; canvases and sculpture being made on the spot; rock, blues, and swing musicians cranking out tasty--if unholy--tunes; and poets and actors doing their oral thing. The doggedly secular among us will enjoy The Science Place's interactive exhibits on electricity, fire, and ice. Deep Ellum's spring celebration will blossom March 28, 7-11 p.m.; March 29, 11 a.m.-11 p.m.; and March 30, 1-9 p.m. on Main St. between Good Latimer and Walton. It's free. Call (972) 831-1882.

Ghosts: The Mesquite Arts Center's debut professional production was written by a man whose mind was not only a stage, but a tightly contained black box, so it's appropriate that Henrik Ibsen's Ghosts be performed in the city's black box theater. Ibsen was a man determined to peel away the surface of educated, civilized, supposedly open-minded adults to poke at the primal vulnerabilities beneath. Ghosts is a typically stark Ibsen incision into the suffering body of American families where unexpected revelation serves as the blade. Performances are scheduled March 28-29 and April 4, 5, 10, 11, and 12 at 8 p.m. (matinees are March 30 and April 6 at 2:30 p.m.) at the Mesquite Arts Black Box Theatre, 1527 N Galloway, Mesquite. Tickets are $10. Call (972) 216-6444. Sara Hickman: Most Dallasites who hung around Deep Ellum in the late '80s and early '90s can be divided into two distinct camps--Friends of Sara Hickman and Enemies of Sara Hickman. You either love this woman's ferociously enthusiastic smile, her clear crystalline voice, and her romantic-noodlings-in-a-diary lyrics or you think she is, after Edie Brickell, Dallas' most annoying entertainment export. Having survived the trauma of VH-1 and major label bureaucracy, Hickman has landed feet-first on a national indie label called Shanachie with her latest album, Misfits, a hodgepodge of tunes written and recorded during the past decade. Hickman takes the stage for a live show with Kris McKay at 8 p.m. in the Lakewood Theatre, 1825 Abrams Rd. Call (214) 827-5253.

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Jimmy Fowler