You don't need to be rolling in dough to see the Pacific Northwest Ballet perform Justin Peck's "In the Countenance of Kings"—pictured here as performed by the San Francisco Ballet—and other boundary-pushing pieces at Director's Choice this weekend. Erik Tomasson, courtesy of San Francisco Ballet

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In this list: Romeo + Juliet | Naked Giants | Director's Choice | Keyon Gaskin

MARCH 21-27

PERFORMANCE

Romeo + Juliet
Director John Langs cast deaf actors to play Romeo and Friar Lawrence, and he incorporated American Sign Language into the script. Romeo, played by Joshua Castille, signs to other characters and they sign back. Sometimes an interpreter serves as interlocutor. Other times, a group of actors voices Romeo's lines, popcorn-reading style. Castille also yells out lines during moments of emotional stress, which is enormously affecting. Working with sign master and ASL translator Ellie Savidge, Langs also added scenes, namely one where Juliet learns to sign a few key phrases in ASL. All of this was more than a victory for an underrepresented community in theater. Having other actors literally voice Romeo's lines while he signs embodies the central theme of the universality of love. It also compounds the tragedy of Romeo's death. Watching him die is like watching the whole town die. RICH SMITH
ACT Theatre

THURSDAY, MARCH 21
FRIDAY, MARCH 22
SATURDAY, MARCH 23
SUNDAY, MARCH 24 (2 p.m.)
SUNDAY, MARCH 24 (7 p.m.)
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 27

FRIDAY, MARCH 22

MUSIC

Naked Giants with Emma Lee Toyoda + Gypsy Temple
There’s a 1970s rock panache and MC5 raucousness about the three spazzsters of Naked Giants. Their garage-punk debut full-length, SLUFF, which carries a myriad of entertaining exegeses, was released this time last year. One interpretation for “sluff” is gunk on the bottom of your Doc Martens on a rainy day. A less subtle one is South Lake Union Fuck Face. ZACH FRIMMEL
Neumos

MARCH 22-24

PERFORMANCE

Director's Choice
Pacific Northwest Ballet artistic director Peter Boal will give us what we've been waiting for all year: a compelling collection of contemporary ballets that push boundaries and make the form feel alive again. This year, he's presenting world premieres from American choreographers Robyn Mineko Williams and Matthew Neenan, plus Justin Peck's In the Countenance of Kings. My prediction is the new pieces will be romantic, abstract, and slightly nostalgic. Then Peck's piece, enlivened by Sufjan Stevens's swirling, sylvan score, will pull us out of the past and ready us for a newly dawning spring. RICH SMITH
Pacific Northwest Ballet

FRIDAY, MARCH 22
SATURDAY, MARCH 23
SUNDAY, MARCH 24
PERFORMANCE

Keyon Gaskin: [lavender]: a self portrait
This On the Boards production (taking place offsite) brings Portland artist Keyon Gaskin and collaborators to perform this "self-portrait," whose title is not meant to be words but the actual color. [lavender] debuted at the 2018 American Realness fest in New York. This dance will be performed by a rotating cast of locals.
Oxbow

FRIDAY, MARCH 22
SATURDAY, MARCH 23
SUNDAY, MARCH 24