“When I was a kid I liked the sad stories and the scary stories,” says Greg Giovanni. That gives you a clue as to what’s in store when a guy who’s a known provocateur presents a show based on children’s stories. Needless to say, it ain’t all sweetness and light. Certain parts of A Minor Cycle: Five Little Plays in One Starry Night are chilling and unnerving; yet Giovanni says the full program, which runs two-plus hours, is really quite sentimental. The tales, performed in traditional Japanese theater forms — Noh, Kyogen, Kabuki and bunraku — feature a slew of gorgeous, fantastical costumes. “The whole idea of Japanese theater is that you relax. You sit there and let it happen to you, and you go places that you never really get to go to on Western theater. I think it’s a little bit like taking drugs: ‘Have we been sitting here for three hours or three days? I don’t know.’”
Fri.-Sat., Feb. 8-9, 8 p.m., $25-$30, Painted Bride Art Center, 230 Vine St., 215-925-9914, paintedbride.org.