There’s no shortage of theatrical color in San Francisco during the holidays, and if The Crackpot Crones have their way, their “Crones for the Holidays” just might leave an indelible imprint.
The troupe, which blends improv and sketch comedy, opens its new show, a robust, feminism-tinged estrogen parade, on Saturday at Stage Werx.
One question immediately comes to mind: What exactly is a crackpot crone?
“A crone is a woman who is beyond the age of having children; [it] has been used as a word to frighten women, and it’s generally received as being negative,” says Terry Baum, who co-wrote and co-stars in “Crones for the Holidays” with Carolyn Myers.
“Old crones are evil and witchy and things like that,” Baum adds. “So here, we are owning that we are over 60 and we are old women. But from a feminist point of view, there is also the concept of crones being wise and powerful and having a deeper understanding of life.”
The show, directed by Joan Mankin and co-directed by Bobbi Ausubel, does not respect rules, Baum says.
“We are interested in exploring beyond what is considered permissible — taking old myths and turning them on their heads.”
And it is designed to provoke laughs. One scene chronicles a “newly minted lesbian” who frets over introducing her lover at her granddaughter’s Hanukkah party.
Another sketch revolves around two frustrated octogenarian activists plotting an escape from their nursing home to attend a demonstration.
Not to be left out of the holiday mix is the Virgin Mary, who, Baum assures, finally will be given a chance to tell “her side of the story of the virgin birth.”
Audience participation comes with singalongs of reimagined holiday classics, such as “Moishe the Green-Nosed Herring” and “The Twelve Days of Family Insults.”
Even though it is all designed for fun, Baum says the comedy serves a deeper purpose.
“My feeling is everybody starts out in theater and as children, we are always playing other roles in our games,” Baum says. “We just never stopped doing that. But feminism is a very important part of what we are doing, partly because we are openly claiming our feminism. And we feel that the reconsideration about all these myths about women is part of our feminist activism.”