If you didn’t know better, you might think Edward Albee’s “A Delicate Balance” takes place in a civilized home. One look at the tasteful furniture and book-lined shelves in the new Aurora Theatre Co. production suggests refinement and — dare we say it? — contentment. Read More
Rita Moreno is such a class act, it’s hard to imagine her as anything but a winner. In fact, her career has had more ups and downs than a commuter jet. Read More
For the seven characters of August Wilson’s “Seven Guitars,” emotions flare up and burn through the night like hot riffs from a blues guitar.
Written as part of Wilson’s Century Cycle — 10 plays exploring African-American experience, one for each decade of the 20th century — “Guitars” dramatizes a few fateful days in the life of a bluesman in the Hill District of the playwright’s native Pittsburgh.
Kent Gash’s insightful production for the Marin Theatre Company makes those days an incendiary portrait of dreams deferred during the post-World War II, pre-civil rights era. Read More
Poetry or piety? For the title character of George Bernard Shaw’s “Candida,” it’s an eminently theatrical question.
Asked to choose between two men — the charismatic preacher she married and the much younger poet who worships her — Candida emerges as one of the playwright’s most compelling creations. Read More
Santa Cruz isn’t just for surfers. Each summer, Shakespeare Santa Cruz makes it a premier destination for theatergoers as well. With three productions — Shakespeare’s “The Comedy of Errors” and “Henry IV, Part I” and Alexander Dumas’ “The Three Musketeers” — up and running through Aug. 28, all’s well at the festival under artistic director Marco Barricelli, now celebrating its 30th season on the UC Santa Cruz campus. Read More
The stage looks like a garage band’s rehearsal room. The performers could be Gap ad models. And the story is so 21st century.Just when you thought there was nothing new under the Shakespearean sun, along comes “The Verona Project.” Amanda Dehnert’s new theater piece reimagines Shakespeare’s “The Two Gentlemen of Verona” in bracingly contemporary terms.Part play, part alt-rock concert, the show made its world premiere Saturday in a new California Shakespeare Theater production. Read More
In the first moments of “Metamorphosis,” someone says that Gregor Samsa “is not himself today.” That’s putting it mildly. Poor Gregor has been transformed overnight, for no reason and utterly without warning, into a human-sized insect.The new Aurora Theatre production brings Franz Kafka’s revolutionary masterpiece to the stage with a decidedly different twist. Director Mark Jackson, using an adaptation by David Farr and Gisli Orn Gardarsson, gives the 1915 story an updated setting in 1950s suburban America. Read More
Playwright Kim Rosenstock is a rising star in the American theater scene, and local audiences are about to get a double shot of her unique brand of comedy-drama. With two of her shows going into production in the Bay Area, the New York-based Rosenstock has just arrived for a busy schedule of rehearsals, previews and openings. Read More
In “Titus Andronicus,” revenge doesn’t just mean an eye for an eye. Tongues, hands, heads and lives are sacrificed in Shakespeare’s grisly tragedy set during the final days of the Roman Empire.
Theater companies never seem sure what to do with the play, written early in Shakespeare’s career as a run-up to great tragedies such as “Macbeth,” “Othello” and “King Lear.” Some camp it up. Most don’t do it at all. But it gets a rare and surprisingly potent staging in the new California Shakespeare Theater production. Read More
It’s been nearly 20 years since Anna Deavere Smith brought her first incendiary one-woman show to the Berkeley Repertory Theatre. The acclaimed playwright-performer has returned with a new work, “Let Me Down Easy,” and it’s clear she’s lost none of her fire or theatrical flair.
Smith has always done her best work exploring hot-button issues. Her earlier shows — “Fires in the Mirror,” about the Crown Heights race riots, and “Twilight: Los Angeles,” on the aftermath of the Rodney King verdict — turned those issues into riveting theater. Read More
It’s been nearly 20 years since Anna Deavere Smith brought her first incendiary one-woman show to the Berkeley Repertory Theatre. The acclaimed playwright-performer has returned with a new work, “Let Me Down Easy,” and it’s clear she’s lost none of her fire or theatrical flair.Smith has always done her best work exploring hot-button issues. Her earlier shows — “Fires in the Mirror,” about the Crown Heights race riots, and “Twilight: Los Angeles,” on the aftermath of the Rodney King verdict — turned those issues into riveting theater. Read More
Mark O’Connor believes in American music. Throughout his career, the violinist has embraced classical tradition while working to create what he calls “a new American classical repertoire.”This month, he makes his latest contribution to that repertoire with “Elevations,” a string symphony commissioned by the New Century Chamber Orchestra. Read More
The timing couldn’t have been better. The folks at San Francisco Playhouse may not have planned it that way, but giving “Reborning” its world premiere on the eve of Mother’s Day seemed to add an extra layer of resonance to Zayd Dohrn’s compelling dark comedy.Not that Dohrn’s play needs shoring up. In Josh Costello’s tightly staged 80-minute production, the show delves into a fascinating range of issues from procreation and genetic inheritance to inspiration, madness and the uses of art. Read More
The birch trees are familiar. So are the feelings of sadness, yearning and ennui expressed by the title characters. Yet the production of “Three Sisters” onstage at Berkeley Repertory Theatre is a new take on Anton Chekhov’s 1900 masterpiece — new, but faithful to the original.In this luminous version by playwright Sarah Ruhl, beautifully directed by Les Waters, the classic play remains firmly set in the Russian provinces during the waning days of the 19th century. Read More
There was a celebratory mood at opening night of the African-American Shakespeare Co.’s new production of “Twelfth Night” last weekend. It wasn’t just the high spirits radiating from the stage as the company performed Shakespeare’s rollicking comedy, there was a lot to celebrate offstage as well. Read More