Wednesday, February 18, 2004

The Terrace Gallery at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts celebrates the upcoming Athens 2004 Olympic Games with SonArt Olympics, a multimedia exhibit of work by Aggelika Korovessi — sculpture, music, film, etchings and her impressions of the sounds of words. The innovative Greek sculptor creates sound sculptures that communicate the message of Greece “through multiple dimensions to a diverse and multicultural audience.” F Street and New Hampshire Avenue NW. 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily through Feb. 29. Free. 202/467-4600.

— Joanna Shaw-Eagle

Pam Gien’s The Syringa Tree closes a week from Sunday. You need to put down this newspaper and go buy tickets. In a transcendent solo performance, actress Gin Hammond plays more than 20 characters as she weaves a story of South Africa over 40 years, under apartheid and not. She slips into the roles so seamlessly, and with such delighted curiosity, that the stage seems to burst with multiple personalities; in fact she is one slender woman in an earth-colored shift, conjuring the universe of her childhood with her hands, the postures of her body and her supple voice. It’s rare that a show earns cultural imperative status. This one is a singular theatrical experience. At the Studio Theatre, 1333 P St. NW. 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays through Sundays, 2:30 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays through Feb. 29. Tickets are $25 to $45. 202/332-3300.

— Jayne Blanchard

Add My Flesh and Blood, opening tomorrow at the Landmark E Street Cinema, to the imposing list of documentary features released in 2003. The original working title, “Meet the Toms,” should have been retained, since it doesn’t smack of pulp fiction. The content is admirably true to life and humbling. Filmmaker Jonathan Karsh observes the household of Susan Tom in Fairfield, Calif. Nine adopted children ranging from about 6 to 18 years old and with modest to severe disabilities are mothered by Mrs. Tom, a stout and stoic tower of strength. The subject matter recalls John Korty’s Oscar-winning documentary of 1977, “Who Are the DeBolts? And Where Did They Get 19 Kids?” Covering roughly a year, Mr. Karsh’s stirring chronicle incorporates a heartbreaking suspense element: One of the youngsters with a perilous hold on life doesn’t survive.

— Gary Arnold

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