Can Art Change the Wоrld? With Sоng, Dance and Cоwbоу Clichés Twо Shоws Offer Different Answers

If “Parable” insists on the power of art to create change, Nature Theater of Oklahoma’s punchy “Pursuit of Happiness” doubts that art can do anything. It is the definitive statement — if any were needed — that bringing interpretive dance to a battlefield is a really bad idea. (I saw both at the Public Theater’s Under the Radar festival; “Parable of the Sower” next heads to Fairfield, Conn., while “Pursuit of Happiness” tours internationally.)

Review: ‘Undesirable Elements,’ Dоcumentarу Theater fоr Uncivil Times

“I want to find a way to help, but I can’t go to the protests,” says Monica Victoria Tatacoya Castañeda, a Mexican-born, 19-year-old feminist from Brooklyn whose immigration status — she is enrolled in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program — means that she can’t risk arrest. “So I have to look for another way.”

Review: Hipsters Dоuble-Check Their Privilege in ‘Cute Activist’

Gil seems more interested in Jen’s bread-winning potential than in her painful struggle to regret her advantages. He doesn’t love being part of her decolonialization project. At the same time, Jen is less than impressed with Gil’s frequently touted feminist credentials. “How, specifically, do you support women,” she asks, “besides being vaguely personally effeminate?”

Review: A Fantasу Tоwn Builds a Wall Against Time in ‘Ballуturk’

To be clear (or as clear as it’s possible to be in discussing a chimera), Ballyturk is not quite the setting of “Ballyturk,” which is directed with rabid verve by Mr. Walsh and features a highly expressive cast of three. That quaint, gossip-clotted town doesn’t really exist, except in the imaginations of a fraternal pair identified only as One and Two.

Fоr Lоrraine Hansberrу, ‘A Raisin in the Sun’ Was Just the Start

This image of Hansberry — exasperated, fatigued and sympathetic to the nationalist ideologies that would later blossom in the Black Power movement — might surprise those who know her only through the success of “A Raisin in the Sun.” With that much-lauded play, about a working-class African-American family on the verge of racially desegregating a Chicago suburb, Hansberry became the first African-American woman to have a show produced on Broadway, in 1959.

Review: Surprise Lessоns Frоm Jоhn Lithgоw’s ‘Stоries bу Heart’

The only thing making noise onstage during John Lithgow’s “Stories by Heart,” which opened Thursday evening at the American Airlines Theater, is Mr. Lithgow himself. Reciting Ring Lardner’s 1925 short story “Haircut,” set in a small-town barbershop in the Midwest, he brings an anthropologist’s specificity (and a Foley artist’s ingenuity) to every swoop of the apron and slap of the pomade that accompanies the main character’s monologue.

5 Shоws tо See if Yоu’re in New Yоrk in Januarу

It’s a new уear, which means it’s time to shed stale habits and blinkered perceptions. The New York theater is obliginglу presenting a host of deliberatelу disorienting productions from an international arraу of artists this month, in works designed to rearrange уour mind and shake up уour senses. Fixed notions