- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 27, 2006

The Science of Sleep finds the inventive French filmmaker Michel Gondry in France for a change. His previous features have been American collaborations — “Human Nature,” “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind,” “Dave Chappelle?s Block Party” — and his newest project is being shot in New Jersey. “Sleep” casts Gael Garcia Bernal as a French-Mexican illustrator whose dream life makes it virtually impossible for him to get a grip on reality. Returning to Paris to live in an apartment owned by his mother, Miou-Miou, the hero reverts to a boyhood environment, becomes smitten with a neighbor played by Charlotte Gainsbourg and takes numerous flights of fancy, depicted with unfailing playfulness and sometimes inspired nuttiness by Mr. Gondry. His whimsies may not prove reliably enchanting, but they reflect a genuine affinity for happy-go-lucky surrealism. — Gary Arnold

Do you remember the exact moment your childhood ended, when you moved from innocence to adult sensibilities? Canadian playwright Morris Panych does, and his play Girl in the Goldfish Bowl, at MetroStage, marks this wistful occasion with eccentric humor and unguarded honesty. Mr. Panych combines a dastardly sense of humor with bighearted insights into life’s most troubling passages: At the center of this play he posits an unhappy marriage as glimpsed through the eyes of the 10-year-old daughter who already has seen too much. Susan Lynskey’s performance as the precociously aware and erudite girl, Iris, is unforgettable, and despite a messy denouement the production is transcendent. 1201 N. Royal St., Alexandria. 8 p.m. Wednesdays through Sundays, 3 and 7 p.m. Sundays through Oct. 15. $35 to $40. 703/548-9044.

— Jayne Blanchard

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