"Juniper trees twist in many directions but are rooted in one place," Cosentino says, explaining her inspiration for the show, a movement-theater piece that came together over a month of rehearsals using experimental improvisation techniques. She admits that there was never a script or even a firm idea of what the eventual piece would look like; rather, its shape was determined by how her cast of five would respond to Cosentino's provocations.
"It's a look at humanity -- what unites us and what divides us," she says. She adds that the same theme might inspire five other actors to put on a completely different show. Might this show turn out to be especially timely or political, given an intensely polarized climate? "It's broader than that," Cosentino says. "One thing that divides us, for example, is when we're in our cars. When we thought about what unites us, there are the needs to be loved, heard, happy and accepted." Suggested donation is $10; call 816-241-0212. -- Steve Walker
Most children figure out that spinning in circles typically induces a harmless, natural head rush. We know from experience that this still works in adulthood, but the results are usually less pleasant -- headaches and run-ins with furniture, for example. For centuries, members of the mystic Sufi Mevlevi Order, better known as the Whirling Dervishes, have managed not only to avoid stumbling into walls or keeling over from nausea while turning in rapid circles but also to achieve high levels of meditation during the process. We'll try to figure out their secret when the Institute of Interfaith Dialog brings the troupe to the Lyric Opera (1029 Central) at 7 p.m. Tuesday. Call 913-980-5790 for more information. -- Jason Harper
Contrary to popular opinion, Matthew Houck is not the sole member of Phosphorescent. There's actually a fairly consistent ensemble of players backing him up -- but he's the one garnering comparisons to Will Oldham, Bob Dylan and the god of grunge. (After one show, The London Evening Standard gushed of Houck: "He may prove to be the most significant American in his field since Kurt Cobain.") We wonder if the Athens, Georgia-based musician has ever hooked up with the women in Azure Ray, his previous labelmates on Warm Electronic Recordings. We'll ask when the tour stops for a 9:30 p.m. performance Thursday at the Jackpot Saloon (943 Massachusetts in Lawrence). Call 785-832-1085. -- Annie Fischer
It's a less than lush life for male jazz vocalists -- real ones, that is, not hacks moonlighting on Thursday-night sitcoms. In a market dominated by willowy, sugarcoated songstresses such as Diana Krall and Dianne Reeves or matriarchs like Ella Fitzgerald (who, though dead, manages to put out about three award-winning albums a year), it's tough for a guy to get a word in edgewise. But we're betting that critics' darling and KC native Kevin Mahogany , a master of both bop and ballad, will get in more than a few good lyrics when he performs with his trio at 7:30 p.m. Friday at the Lawrence Arts Center (940 New Hampshire). Call 785-843-2787 for information. -- Harper