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The Week in Arts: Glorious Nubian Art in Boston

Through Jan. 20; mfa.org.

South of Egypt, in what is what is now the Sudanese Nile Valley, lay the ancient kingdom of Nubia, a cultural rival and one-time conqueror of the pharaohs. World renowned for their gold, fine jewelry, and extensive trading networks, the Nubians left behind cities and statuary as fine as those of the Egyptians — but not nearly as much writing.

In part because of this absence of testimony, Nubia hasn’t gotten its due in the American imagination. But the Museum of Fine Arts Boston has the largest collection of Nubian artifacts outside of Khartoum, and with the overwhelming esthetic wealth of “Ancient Nubia Now,” it’s starting to set the record straight. WILL HEINRICH

Oct. 18.

In 2014, Alexandre Dussot-Hezez, a 40-year-old Frenchman and devout Roman Catholic, discovered that the Rev. Bernard Preynat, the priest who had sexually abused him as a boy, was still working with children. Horrified, he wrote to the Diocese of Lyon and was brought face to face with his attacker, who did not deny his actions and acknowledged molesting others — and eventually revealed that the church’s hierarchy knew about his pedophilia.

In “By the Grace of God,” the director François Ozon (“Swimming Pool”) reportedly worked in secret to create a kind of French “Spotlight,” the Oscar winner about the Boston archdiocese’s cover-up of sexual abuse. Melvil Poupaud, Denis Ménochet and Swann Arlaud portray three of the real-life victims, now adults, eager to expose the complicity of both the church and their loved ones, and to salve the wounds that have, to varying degrees, hurt their lives.

In July, after the film’s release in France, a church tribunal defrocked Preynat, finding him guilty of the sexual abuse of minors. He will face trial in a French court next year.

“By the Grace of God” opens on Oct. 18 in New York and on Oct. 25 in Los Angeles. KATHRYN SHATTUCK

Oct. 15-19; nws.edu.

The brunt of many classical music in-jokes, the viola has long been relegated to second-class citizen of the string section. That might change this week, when the instrument’s fans will descend on Miami Beach for “Viola Visions,” a five-day festival sponsored by the New World Symphony and the conductor Michael Tilson Thomas.

Along with master classes led by undersung stars — such as the soloist Kim Kashkashian and the New York Philharmonic principal player Cynthia Phelps — chamber and orchestral concerts highlight instrument’s range, from Jennifer Higdon’s serene viola concerto to Nico Muhly’s rapturous “Keep in Touch.” Must-sees include the premiere of Steven Mackey’s reimagining of Berlioz’s “Harold in Italy,” and a rendition of Andrew Norman’s frenetic “Gran Turismo” performed by eight violists at once. WILLIAM ROBIN

Oct. 16-20; newyorklivearts.org.

Over the past few years, the choreographer Yanira Castro has been looking closely at what constitutes live performance, as if pausing to ask, “What is this thing we call theater?” In her trilogy “Cast/Stage/Author,” she examined the process of casting performers, the mechanical trappings of the stage and the question of who authors a work, taking apart familiar structures and protocols to see them in a new light.

With her latest project, at New York Live Arts in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood, she turns her attention to another vital component of performance: the viewer. In “Last Audience,” the cast is every person in attendance. Guided by a set of scores that change each night, the unpredictable work explores themes of agency and democracy as well as the relationship between the individual and the collective. The event is free, and in the spirit of building community, each performance begins with a public meal, featuring stories, poetry, food and dance from guest artists. SIOBHAN BURKE

Through Nov. 30, forbiddenbroadway.com.

Savvy enough for theater obsessives, but not so esoteric that casual fans feel left out. That’s the tricky goal that Gerard Alessandrini sets for himself in his spoofing tribute-takedown show, “Forbidden Broadway,” which arrives in its latest incarnation (subtitled “The Next Generation!”) after a five-year absence from the stage.

Giddily affectionate one moment, gleefully savage the next, it’s like a comedy roast set to music. On the tiny proscenium stage of the Triad Theater on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, a cast of five sends up Broadway hits including “Moulin Rouge” and “Oklahoma!”; tweaks the Yiddish-language “Fiddler on the Roof” Off Broadway; then dances into T.V. territory for “Fosse/Verdon.” Or it did at the preview I saw. But “Forbidden Broadway” follows the merciless out-of-town-tryout model of show-shaping: If a number doesn’t work, it’s out. In the lead-up to opening night, which is Wednesday, Oct. 16, everything’s in flux. LAURA COLLINS-HUGHES

Oct. 15; eventbrite.com.

Once you’ve heard Laetitia Tamko sing, you would know her voice anywhere. Booming, warbly, delicate and throaty in various combinations, it’s one of the most distinctive sounds in indie rock today. As Vagabon, Tamko — a former computer engineer — made a minor splash in 2017 with “Infinite Worlds,” a collection of guitar-forward songs that parse ideas of home, community and self-image. Later this week, she’ll deliver her self-titled sophomore album, which operates in a similar thematic space but explores new sonic territory.

Tamko wrote “Vagabon” while touring and produced it entirely on her own. In doing so, she backed away from conventional rock instrumentation and embraced new digital textures. The results, as heard on the album’s lead single, “Flood,” are lusher than Tamko’s previous work, but retain much of its tenderness and intimacy. Expect Tamko to play this song, and others from the record, during her Tuesday performance at Brooklyn’s National Sawdust. OLIVIA HORNE

Oct. 18; amazon.com.

Even the most hardened cynics have surely found something to soften their hearts since the unveiling of The New York Times’s “Modern Love” column 15 years ago. And now Amazon Prime Video has brought eight of those essays on navigating the tangled web of contemporary relationships — and living to tell the tale, or not — to the screen.

The lineup, debuting Oct. 18, includes four episodes directed by John Carney (“Once”) and starring Cristin Milioti as a single Brooklynite whose personal life is monitored a little too closely by her doorman (Laurentiu Possa); Catherine Keener as a journalist who helps a dating-site tech mogul (Dev Patel) rekindle a lost love; Anne Hathaway as a lawyer whose bipolar disorder derails her every attempt at romance; and Andrew Scott and Brandon Kyle Goodman as a couple struggling to adopt the baby of a free spirit (Olivia Cooke). And Tina Fey and John Slattery team up as old marrieds waging war against their festering troubles on the tennis court in a tale directed by Sharon Horgan (“Catastrophe”). KATHRYN SHATTUCK

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