2005_12_arts_bowers.jpgThere are so many holiday theatre offerings right now, many of them closing when Christmas is still a week or more away, so we are going to be ornery and focus on non-seasonal stuff, of which there is plenty, as usual. One show that just caught our eye is Under a Montana Moon, performed by the mime Bill Bowers. We get a lot of puppetry on stages here, but miming, not so much, and Bowers is a top guy in the field, so this solo piece is very much worth catching. It’s comprised of various stories set in the West, where Bowers grew up, and aims to “use the Art of Silence to investigate the Idea of Silence.” This weekend he’s also performing his other main solo piece, It Goes Without Saying, to benefit the Rattlestick Theatre, so there’s more than enough opportunities to fit seeing this unique artist into your schedule.

Another show that looks worth seeing is the Specter Theatre Company’s production of Beast With Two Backs, by Don Nigro, which bills itself as being about “sex, love, art and booze in Greenwich Village, 1927.” The central character is an aspiring artist who encounters all sorts of crazy bohemians in his building. It might not be too reflective of the current-day Village, but stories about people coming to NYC to try to make something of themselves always seem to have a special timeless quality about them, and though we’ve never seen this play we’ve loved some of Nigro’s (many, many) others, so it’s a good bet that this show is quite enjoyable.

If the Depression era isn’t on the top of your list of times you’d like to visit if time-travel were possible, you could check out On the Verge, which takes in both the Victorian era and the 50s by way of some time-traveling of its own. Three women start out in 1888 and then progress by osmosis to 1955, going through a jungle terrorized by trolls and cannibals and “scaling walls of imperialism, feminism and materialism.” Written by Eric Overmeyer and produced by Visual Fields Collaborative at the Red Room, this show sounds like just the kind of wonderfully bizarre fare that made us love off-off-Broadway in the first place.

2005_12_arts_ladycav.jpg Speaking of women wielding machetes in the jungle, The Lady Cavaliers is a company that promotes, as you might guess from their name, a stronger female image through plays that specialize in showing women in combat. Right now the company is doing Signature Stories, which features five short plays including The Trung Sisters (about South Asian freedom fighters), Contestant 325 (a one-woman work about Helena Meyer, who fenced in the 1936 Olympics), and – more mime! – A Silent Exchange, about dueling movie stars. Don’t get turned off (or turned on) by the thought that these are just going to be catfights – our guess is that the top-notch fight choreography will have you on the edge of your seat.

OK, one holiday show, but only because it’s like none of the others. 'Tis the @#$%-ing Season is a set of three holiday stories by up-and-coming young playwrights and composers: The First Annual St. Ignatius Chanukah Pageant (a musical), Chimping, and Why Am I Attracted to Narcissists? – A Christmas Story. It’s not the sort of thing you’d take visiting family to if they were clamoring for some good old traditional New York holiday entertainment, and that is exactly the point. Of course, with a name like 'Tis the @#$%-ing Season and a diverse lineup like the above, it’s surely more authentic than any “It’s A Wonderful Life”-type show, so there you have it – you can’t miss.

Details after the jump...

Details: Under a Montana Moon is at a new space called the Performance Factory, 302 W. 37, 6th floor. Through 12/18; shows are Sat. & Sun. 3pm Sat. 8pm. Call 212-868-4444 for tickets. See the Rattlestick Theatre page for more info about the benefit. Beast With Two Backs is at Walkerspace, 46 Walker St., through Dec. 17. Wed.-Sat. 8pm, Sun. 7pm Tickets via Smarttix.
On the Verge is at the Red Room, 85 E. 4th St. 3rd Floor, through Dec. 17. Shows are Wed.-Sat. 7pm. Tickets are here.
Signature Stories opens tomorrow and shows through 12/18 at the Greenwich Street Theatre, 547 Greenwich St. Performances are Wed.-Sat. 8pm, Sat. 2pm & Sun. 7pm. Tickets are at Theatermania.
'Tis the @#$%-ing Season is at the Lion Theatre, 410 W. 42; previews are tomorrow and Thurs. at 8. It opens Friday and runs through 12/21, Tues.-Sat. 8pm, Sat. & Sun. 4pm. Tickets at Ticket Central.