Slim pickings in this final week. What used to be a brace of productions from eight foreign countries and four local theaters–together with one “special added attraction” from somewhere in between–has been whittled down to a comparative pittance: two foreign, two local, and the special attraction. Representing the world: the English Shakespeare Company and the State Theatre of Lithuania. Representing Chicago: A Whistle in the Dark at the Body Politic Theatre and Have You Seen Zandile? at the Chicago Theatre Company. The special attraction: a mounting of The Knee Plays by Robert Wilson and David Byrne. See separate listings in the Reader’s Guide to Theater for information on local productions; imported productions appear below. English Shakespeare productions can be seen at the Auditorium Theatre (50 E. Congress); the Lithuanian production at the Royal-George Theatre (1641 N. Halsted); and The Knee Plays at the Civic Theatre (20 N. Wacker). Certain performances are sold out. Call 644-3378 for information.
THE WARS OF THE ROSES Practically a festival unto itself. The English Shakespeare Company took seven of Shakespeare’s plays and assembled them into a grand epic, encompassing a period of 100 years and the reigns of six kings. The series features three Henrys, two Richards, and an Edward–not to mention one fat Falstaff–duking it out for control of a kingdom. Michael Bogdanov directs. The works included are: Richard II; Henry IV, parts one and two; Henry V; Henry VI, parts two and three; and Richard III. Unfortunately, only the two Henry VIs and Richard III are still open. “Cracking good” (Reader critic Albert Williams). At the Auditorium Theatre, through May 28. Saturday, 10:30 AM, 3 PM, and 7:30 PM. The schedule: Henry VI, Part Two, 10:30 AM. Henry VI, Part Three, 3 PM. Richard III, 7:30 PM. $23-$33; for three plays: $75-$87.
THE KNEE PLAYS This collaboration between theatrical innovator Robert Wilson and Talking Head David Byrne was originally meant to be seen as part of Wilson’s vast the CIVIL WarS, which was scotched–tragically–by the powers that were at the 1984 Olympic Arts Festival. Here’s a small taste of what might have been. At the Civic Theatre, through May 29. Tuesday-Friday, 7:30 PM; Saturday, 6 and 9 PM; Sunday, 3 and 7:30 PM. $20-$28.
PIROSMANI, PIROSMANI From the State Theatre of Lithuania. A play by V. Korastylev, recounting the life and persecutions of Georgian folk artist Nico Pirosmanashvili. Eimuntas Nekrosius directs. At the Royal-George Theatre, through May 29. Friday and Saturday, 7:30 PM; matinee Saturday and Sunday, 3 PM. $25-$28.