In her ominously titled feminist revenge comedy, “You’re Going to Bleed,” now world-premiering as part of Exit Theatre’s DIVAFest, playwright Melissa Fall co-opts some characters and tropes from theatrical literature.
For example, a marginally employed actor, John (as in Proctor, from Arthur Miller’s “The Crucible”), is seduced by a teenager named Abigail (“The Crucible” again).
Here, John is Abigail’s audition-monologue coach. She’s preparing an erotic boy-and-horse scene from “Equus,” and that drama too figures into Fall’s plot in weird and abstract ways. Read More
Director Becky Kemper based her version of Shakespeare’s “The Merry Wives of Windsor,” now at African-American Shakespeare Company, on the chitlin circuit, the network of theaters and clubs where black performers entertained black audiences during segregation.
To that end, she set it in the 1950s (represented by some songs and by Linda Tucker’s period-appropriate costumes) and created a loosey-goosey, raucous atmosphere with actor Amy Lizardo as an assured and vivacious emcee. Read More
Sometimes, in transforming tragic events into art, a terrible beauty emerges.
Such is the case in the National Theatre of Scotland’s much-acclaimed touring production of Gregory Burke’s 2006 play, “Black Watch.” The Drill Court at the Armory provides enough space, and a suitably bleak atmosphere, for such a dramatic, and at times downright thrilling, spectacle.
In 2004, a regiment of the Black Watch — a branch of the Scottish military with a centuries-old history — was sent to the so-called Triangle of Death in Iraq to replace American forces departing for Fallujah. Read More
Maybe you have to be a baby boomer to appreciate Will Durst’s latest solo act, “Boomeraging from LSD to OMG.” But I doubt it.
It is, of course, about the travails of what Durst terms being “chronologically gifted,” or “what happens when acid flashbacks meet dementia.” Read More
Local writer Dan Harder’s modern noir mystery, “A Killer Story,” onstage at the Marsh in Berkeley, starts at the end. All three characters — hard-boiled gumshoe Rick (Ryan O’Donnell), sexy blonde Laura (Madeline H.D. Brown) and obsessive scientist Jerry (Robert Parsons) — are behind bars.
Reverting to the beginning, Rick tells us how they got here. His only mistake, he claims, was in his timing.
At play’s end, awaiting trial, he says he told “too good a story.”
It’s a clever conceit. Read More
Playwright (and acclaimed Culture Clash writer-performer) Richard Montoya wrote “The River” for the small, intrepid company Campo Santo, where it is having its world premiere.
More specifically, Montoya and Campo Santo’s Sean San Jose collaborated on the project, with the memory of Campo Santo co-founder-actor Luis Saguar, who died in 2009, in mind. Read More
The beginning of Thomas Bradshaw’s 2009 one-act “The Bereaved” — the first of Bradshaw’s many plays to be produced locally, thanks to Crowded Fire Theater — seems like a domestic comedy.
Husband Michael (Lawrence Radecker), a low-wage-earning, unambitious adjunct professor, is fiddling on his computer. Lawyer wife Carol (Michele Leavy) stomps in after a busy work day.
The two immediately start squabbling about who should be taking out the garbage. “You’re a retard!” they shriek at each other, upping the ante of a scene that had seemed mild enough. Read More
In the opening scene of nationally acclaimed playwright Julia Cho’s lovely and lyrical “The Language Archive,” a 2009 play now at Symmetry Theatre Company, scholarly linguist George (Gabriel Grilli) tell us that his wife, Mary, cries incessantly. She also stashes cryptic, poetic little notes around the house, which she refuses to acknowledge. At scene’s end, Mary (Elena Wright) informs George that she’s leaving him. Read More
If you haven’t seen “Voyage,” the first of Tom Stoppard’s trilogy titled “The Coast of Utopia,” not to worry. Yes, many of the true-life characters in “Voyage” (set in Russia, 1883 to 1844) reappear in the second part of the trilogy, “Shipwreck” (set first in Russia and then in a restive Western Europe from 1846 to 1852).
But there are so many characters altogether in each that it takes some time to figure out who’s who in any case. Shotgun Players, now presenting both plays, includes detailed information in the program to help you sort out all that. Read More
In the second act of Matthew Lopez’s startling play “The Whipping Man,” three Jewish Southerners conduct a seder. Two are newly emancipated slaves; the third is their former master’s son.
It is Passover on April 14, 1865 — the day Abraham Lincoln was assassinated. Lopez digs deep to explore the ways this night is different from all other nights, and the ways the ramifications of their unusual circumstance affect the three men. Read More
Sometimes nothing much happens in a play, or at least nothing surprising, but the journey its characters take feels so authentic, so palpably representative of the human condition, that audiences are likely to cherish the passing minutes.
Such is the case in Magic Theatre’s Bay Area premiere of Los Angeles playwright Julie Marie Myatt’s 2009 play “The Happy Ones.” Read More
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
It’s no wonder journalist-playwright Lawrence Wright was drawn to Italian superstar author-reporter Oriana Fallaci as the subject for “Fallaci,” his two-character drama receiving its world premiere at Berkeley Repertory Theatre under the assured direction of Public Theatre artistic director Oskar Eustis. Read More
The “lady” of the title in Georgia State University professor and playwright Shirlene Holmes’ 1997 “A Lady and a Woman” is Miss Flora, an innkeeper and healer in the mid-1890s South.
As portrayed by the gifted Velina Brown in Theatre Rhinoceros’ local premiere, Miss Flora is regal, lonely, self-assured, devoutly Christian and full of yearning.
When she says, initially, “I don’t trust nobody on first sight,” you believe her — so it’s wonderful to see her let her guard down as the two-person, two-act play continues.
Miss Flora is issuing that warning to the “woman” in Read More
“I’m just a man,” sighs Martin Luther King Jr. several times in Katori Hall’s two-character, 2010 Olivier Award-winning one-act, “The Mountaintop,” a regional premiere now at TheatreWorks.
Indeed he is in this altogether funny, thought-provoking and poignant play. Depicted with convincing charm and inner turmoil by Adrian Roberts, he cusses, apparently cheats on his wife, smokes, and has stinky feet and a hole in his sock. Read More