In a society as beauty-obsessed as ours, the fairly simple story that playwright Neil LaBute tells in “Reasons to Be Pretty” rings true in ways that can be discomfiting.
The comic drama, which premiered on Broadway in 2009, is directed here by Susi Damilano in a stellar SF Playhouse production. Both funny and sad, it reveals, in stark relief, the often unattractive vulnerabilities of its all-too-human characters. Read More
Playwright Neil LaBute continues to address the question: Why are positive character traits associated with people who are physically attractive?
It’s one of the themes in “Reasons to Be Pretty,” opening this week in an SF Playhouse production following runs in New York, both off- and on Broadway. Read More
Stephen Adly Guirgis’ comedy-drama “The Motherf**ker with the Hat” begins so explosively in its excellent SF Playhouse production, it’s hard to imagine where it can go from there.
What’s so great about the play, which opened on Broadway in 2011, and about Bill English’s fearless direction, is that it goes to lots of places — places that are at various times violent, comic, profane and poignant. Read More
Challenging as it is for a small nonprofit theater to take a quantum leap, the San Francisco Playhouse — the downtown company that has endeared itself to audiences and critics alike since its inception in 2003 — is clearly ready. To wit: In recent times, more than 1,000 patrons were turned away over the course of a couple of popular runs.
This month, the company, which specializes in stellar productions of contemporary plays, opens its season in a nearby, but much larger, venue. Read More
Who’s in townDustin Thomason, a Los Angeles-based TV writer and novelist, talks about his new book “12.21.” [6 p.m., Book Passage, 1 Ferry Building, S.F.]LecturesGeoffrey Nunberg: The professor and linguist discusses the rise of the word “a-hole” and how it reflects contemporary American values regarding civility, relationships and class. [6 p.m., Commonwealth Club, 595 Market St., S.F.] Read More
A big musical in miniature, up close and personal, SF Playhouse’s “My Fair Lady” is a win-win proposition. For those few who haven’t experienced how Eliza Doolittle “could have danced all night,” it’s an excellent introduction. At the time, for the zillion veterans of stage presentations or the classic film, director Bill English’s production is a new experience. Read More
From early on in the SF Playhouse production of local playwright Kenn Rabin’s new play, “Reunion,” it’s clear the central character Tom is not the “sexually violent predator” he has been labeled by the system. He served his prison term, but is now incarcerated in a mental institution for psychiatric evaluation. Read More
At the beginning of SF Playhouse’s production of Tennessee Williams’ self-described 1960 “serious comedy” called “Period of Adjustment,” former Korean War hero Ralph (a restless, conflicted Johnny Moreno) eagerly awaits the arrival of his best friend and war buddy, George (a riveting Patrick Alparone), and George’s new bride, Isabel (MacKenzie Meehan in a deeply empathetic portrayal). Read More
In the program for SF Playhouse’s West Coast premiere of “Honey Brown Eyes,” there’s an insert titled “What Happened in Bosnia?”What indeed? The Bosnian War of the early 1990s, which followed the breakup of Yugoslavia, involved Serbs and Croats; Muslims, Catholics and Orthodox; Bosnia and Herzegovina and more. It was confusing and difficult to understand at the time, even for those who lived there, let alone for us to remember now. Read More
The titular tigers — tiger singular, actually — are incidental in hot young New York playwright Kim Rosenstock’s dysfunctional-family comedy “Tigers Be Still,” a West Coast premiere currently closing SF Playhouse’s season.The unseen, escaped-from-the-zoo predator is not really necessary. Rosenstock’s poignant examination of several depressed individuals whose lives intersect is charming and resonant enough without the metaphor of a dangerous beast representing characters’ fears. Read More