Thursday, January 12, 2006 | Upcoming theater, music and visual/performing arts events:

THEATER

Acting more than their age. Somewhere in between slamming doors, studying for the SATs and getting their first speeding tickets, these 16- to 18-year-olds managed to transform the highs and lows of their high school experiences into thoughtful theater scripts. With a little nudging from mentors and judges, five talented California teens will now witness their plays professionally performed at the 21st annual “Plays by Young Writers” in Balboa Park.

Unlikely combinations of style, characters and themes distinguish the young writers’ work as complex and imaginative. Emily Bookstein combines surrealism with Spanish class to suggest how arbitrary the rules appear to a newcomer in “Spanish Rhapsody.” Julianne Vanessa Athon uses the impact of drugs upon teens to explore broader ideas about loss of innocence in “Tripping.” William Alden and Mariah McCarthy both shoulder the universal themes of love, but Alden keeps it light and witty in “This Girl Is a Bird” while McCarthy heads down the dark path of obsession in a hybrid dance/theater piece titled “A Man of His Word.” Finally, the ordinary scenario of boy-asks-girl-to-the-prom takes on new meanings when a young man faces death only a few months away in “Step into the Night,” by Kit Steinkellner.

“Plays by Young Writers” runs at 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and at 2 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays through Jan. 22 at the Old Globe’s Cassius Carter Centre Stage in Balboa Park. Each performance includes a reading of scripts by writers under the age of 14. Info: (619) 239-8222 or

More performances:

-Long before mainstream Hollywood took its belated plunge with “Brokeback Mountain,” gay love stories have had a comfortable niche in the theater. Written in 1993, “Beautiful Thing” tells of a summer affair between two young boys in a housing project in South-East London. Plays at 7:30 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays, 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Sundays through Feb. 5, at the Diversionary Theatre, 4545 Park Blvd., University Heights. Info: (619) 220-0097 or

-“Much Ado about Nothing” is Shakespeare’s take on the timeless and torturous ritual of courtship games, adapted to fit the unique dating culture of the ’60s. Plays at 8 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays, at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. Saturdays and at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Sundays, Jan. 17- Feb. 19, at the Sheila and Hughes Potiker Theatre, UCSD campus, 9500 Gilman Drive, La Jolla. Info: (858) 550-1010 or

-“The Exonerated” relates the anguished words of six real men and women who attempted to recover their lives upon being proven innocent after years on Death Row. Plays at 9:15 p.m. Thursdays, 9 p.m. Tuesdays and Fridays and 8 p.m. Saturdays through Feb. 11, at the Lynx Performance Theatre, 2653 Ariane Drive, near Pacific Beach. Info: (619) 280-2641 or

– An old man and a young bride exchange places and re-think their past and future commitments in “Prelude to a Kiss.” Plays at 8 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays and at 2 p.m. Sundays through Feb. 11, at the OnStage Playhouse, 291 Third Ave., Chula Vista. Info: (619) 422-7787 or

MUSIC

Invasion, part II? By some accounts, there’s sort of a rock ‘n’ roll renaissance gurgling over in the U.K. these days. Not around long-designated hitters like Coldplay or U2, but among a younger generation of shaggy, swaggering, garage-loving lads like (on the dry side) The Kaiser Chiefs and (on the awesome side) The Go! Team. It’s a bit early to call sides on The Editors, one pasty, poorly-groomed quadruplet among many, but – and this might be the fault of the clamorous British rock press – the buzz surrounding these Birminghamers has echoed all the way over to the West Coast.

And so has the band, in all their Interpol-ish, post-punk gloominess. While the American tastes slowly succumb to increasingly hard-to-define urban genres, it’s sort of good to know our Anglo cousins are still hip to the ol’ rock thing. Whether they’ve got any new tricks for it is yet to be determined.

The Editors will perform (along with a DJ set from New Order bassist Peter Hook) at 8 p.m., Sunday, Jan. 15 at The Casbah, 2501 Kettner Blvd., Middletown. $15.

Additional shows for a June-like January:

– North Mississippi All-Stars ride a raggedy roots-rock road through classic Americana. 8 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 12 at the Belly Up Tavern, 143 S. Cedros Ave., Solana Beach. $16 advance/$18 day of show.

– The Advantage transform old 8-bit video game soundtracks into full rock rampage. Sounds weird, and it is, but Mario and Megaman can jam harder than you’d think, and these slingers don’t miss a mushroom-chomping riff. Monday, Jan. 16 at Black Box Studios, 2469 Broadway, Golden Hill. Info: (619) 238-8190.

– Jagermeister Music Tour features gory angst-bangers like Disturbed and Bloodsimple. 8 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 18 (and Thursday, Jan. 19) at House of Blues, 1055 Fifth Ave, downtown. $33. (ISP)

VISUAL/PERFORMING ARTS

Sushi buffet. Don’t be fooled by the name. Sushi Performance and Visual Art’s “New Wave Showcase” is not a nostalgic celebration of ’80s pop culture, but rather a cultural sampler of diverse new choreographic and performance works by five emerging local artists. Compiled by an advisory board of local artists, the second annual showcase features a smorgasbord of creative delights, from multi-media dance and music to performance art and spoken word (paired with Polynesian dance).

“Sushi’s New Wave Showcase” runs 8 p.m. Friday, Jan. 13 and Saturday, Jan. 14; 7 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 15 at SDSU Studio Theatre, 5500 Campanile Drive. Tickets are $20 ($15 members, $10 students). Info: (619) 235-8466 or

More static and dynamic art:

– Anything goes this Saturday, Jan. 14 when New York’s improvisational comedy troupe Chicago City Limits takes the stage at the California Center for the Arts in Escondido. Audience members will be encouraged (nay, required) to hurl fodder for the quick-witted players to create Madlib-esque sketches and even songs. (Note: recommended for mature audiences). 8 p.m. 340 N. Escondido Blvd., Escondido. $20-$35 (seniors $17-$32). Info: (800) 988-4253, www.artcenter.org and www.chicagocitylimits.com.

– Travel through time and around India while sipping libations during the San Diego Museum of Art’s “Culture and Cocktails” event from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. tonight, Thursday, Jan. 12. Only 10 days remain to view more than 100 intricate, colorful court paintings from 14th century to late 19th century India in the museum’s own nationally touring exhibition, “Domains of Wonder: Selected Masterworks of Indian Painting.” The exhibition ends Sunday, Jan. 22. 1450 El Prado, Balboa Park. Info: (619) 232-7931 or www.sdmart.org.

– Before he was the front man of ’70s art-punk band Devo, Mark Mothersbaugh consumed himself with making art, from rubber stamp design and illustration to screen printing and postcard prints. Check out his work, along with 20 other artists in “Mixed Plates” at Voice 1156 Gallery through Jan. 27. 1156 Seventh Ave., downtown. Info: (619) 235-6922 or www.voice1156.com. (CC)

– VOICE STAFF

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