Transactors Improv’s Character Is Fate
The ArtsCenterIt may seem contradictory, but one of the defining features of longform improv is the use of so-called “forms”: By definition, nothing is scripted beforehand, but the performers usually work within a predetermined structure (rather like jazz, with its head, improvisation with solos, and return to the head). Trying new forms stretches the players’ improv muscles, and it’s fun for the audience to see how inventively they followand breakthe rules. The Transactors will play with a couple of intriguing forms of their own creation in their show, Character is Fate. In “Interview,” invented by company member Anoo Brod, intermittent conversations between the players and the audience guide the story. In “The Break Room,” created by member Dan Sipp and debuting tonight, characters hurtle through time and space while engaging in fast-paced interactions with other charactersone of whom becomes the new focus in a daisy-chained plot (think of Richard Linklater’s Slacker). Tickets are $14 ($12 for friends of The ArtsCenter and seniors, $7 for students). Showtime is 8 p.m. Marc Maximov

American Romantics, N.C. Symphony
Meymandi Concert HallN.C. State’s J. Mark Scearce witnesses the world premiere of his new work, Antaeus for Double Bass and Orchestra, among other American works in this three-night stint. Asked to compose a bass concerto for the N.C. Symphony’s principal bassist, Leonid Finkelshteyn, Scearce drew inspiration for the three-movement piece from the seemingly invincible Libyan giant Antaeus, who Hercules crushed in a hug that Scearce likens to a bassist’s relationship with his instrument. Scottish percussionist Colin Currie joins the Symphony in Jennifer Higdon’s Percussion Concerto, which attempts to forgo typical soloist-orchestra call-responses with interactions between the two entities. Aaron Copland’s Suite from Appalachian Spring and Samuel Barber’s Adagio for Strings round out the evenings. This trio of shows begins Thursday at UNC’s Memorial Hall before culminating in two nights at Meymandi Concert Hall. The shows begin at 8 p.m., and tickets cost $35-$53. Elizabeth Lilly