In Magic Theatre’s “Another Way Home,” when a middle aged couple arrives for visiting day at Camp Kickapoo to see their teenage son, Joseph, they’re greeted with cold hostility.
Joey, who activates the events of the play, is sullen, hateful and, as portrayed by Daniel Petzold, weirdly jumpy, with a glazed, manic look in his eyes. Apparently the kid’s been like this for a long time. He’s been treated for ADD, depression and other conditions. Read More
In a three-week blitz, the ReOrient Theatre Festival and Forum, produced by San Francisco’s Middle Eastern-themed Golden Thread Productions, is offering world premiere plays plus seminars, panels, a jazz concert and more.
When artistic director Torange Yeghiazarian founded Golden Thread in 1996, she could not foresee how events in the Middle East would affect the world — nor could she imagine the exponential growth and increasing cultural significance of her small company. Read More
Local playwright Christopher Chen’s West Coast premiere of “The Hundred Flowers Project,” co-presented by Crowded Fire Theater and Playwrights Foundation, appears to be already under way when the house opens: A small theater company is assembled, kibbutzing, on Maya Linke’s backstage set, which is realistically cluttered with ladders, flats and scaffolding. Read More
“It’s all a little complicated,” says the Old Man (James Carpenter) to the Student (Carl Holvick-Thomas) in the first of three scenes that compose August Strindberg’s 1907 “The Ghost Sonata,” now at Cutting Ball Theater.
The Old Man is alluding to the interwoven and torturous relationships among the inhabitants of a mansion whose facade stretches across the shallow stage in designer Michael Locher’s effective, moveable set. Read More
“I have to understand why a genius becomes obsessed with mediocrity!” exclaims New York music scholar Katherine Brandt, herself rather obsessive.
She is the central figure in Moisés Kaufman’s “33 Variations,” now in a West Coast premiere at TheatreWorks. The title refers to Beethoven’s variations on a simple melody composed by his contemporary, the music publisher Diabelli.
Some of that lovely music accompanies the play thanks to musical director William Liberatore on an upstage piano. 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
As Sharr White’s intense, compact new play, “The Other Place,” proceeds, mysteries deepen.
Why is Juliana, a middle-aged research scientist, consulting a doctor; is it true, as she is convinced, that she’s inherited the brain cancer that runs in her family?
Who is the woman in the yellow bikini incongruously seated among the doctors attending a medical conference at which Juliana is giving a promotional speech about a new drug — and what exactly is this new drug about anyway? Read More
If you lived in San Francisco (or New York) in the 1980s, Larry Kramer’s landmark 1985 play “The Normal Heart,” about the beginning of the AIDS epidemic in New York, will likely bring back the agony of that desperate decade.
You’ll recall how President Ronald Reagan ignored the impending disaster and activists like Kramer (and the main characters in his play) struggled to alert the establishment, mobilize the gay community, educate the country at large and, of course, raise funds for research and treatment. Read More
Just when you think you’ve figured out who the characters are, and what’s going on in Tunisian-Swedish playwright Jonas Hassen Khemiri’s 2011 Obie Award winner “Invasion!” you’re thrown for a loop.The satirical comedy, which premiered in Sweden in 2006, is receiving a buoyant production by Crowded Fire Theater Company under director Evren Odcikin.Woven throughout is the mystery of a quasi-mythological figure called Abulkasem. He’s first referred to by a high school kid who savors the sound of the name, and the word becomes joking, multipurpose slang at his school. Read More
If Paul S. Flores’ “Placas: The Most Dangerous Tattoo” has the trappings of a modern-day Greek tragedy, that’s no surprise to the San Francisco playwright. “I think that tragedy comes natural to me,” he says. “I don’t know if that’s because I’m a poet by training, or because my natural perspective is to identify the pathos in tragedy — not that I don’t enjoy comedy!”
In fact, he solicited Los Angeles actor Ric Salinas of the comedy trio Culture Clash for the 12-character, six-actor world premiere. Read More
Local playwright Patricia Milton draws from an array of sources — neurological, environmental, literary, pharmaceutical, philosophical — in “Believers,” her new post-apocalyptic comedy.
It’s an ambitious choice for Wily West, given that four actors (plus a guitarist on an overhead platform) must squeeze onto a tiny set that encompasses a science lab and a receptionist’s office (Quinn J. Whitaker, lead designer).
But director Sara Staley manages the physical logistics well enough. Read More
From the minute Marin Theatre Company’s production of New York playwright Annie Baker’s “Circle Mirror Transformation” opens — with the five performers lying silently on the floor in what is clearly, right down to the last perfect detail, a community center multipurpose room (set by Andrew Boyce), you know this play is going to take its own sweet time to get where it’s going. Read More
Here’s the thing about an intense, unrelenting drama that focuses on a power struggle between two people: If the actors are not equally strong, equally adept at dredging up their truest, darkest emotions, equally committed to playing off each other moment by moment, then the dynamic just doesn’t work.Unfortunately, such is the case with Actors Theatre of San Francisco’s production of August Strindberg’s 1888 one-act “Miss Julie.” Read More
It’s all about the horse, of course.In “War Horse,” the National Theatre of Great Britain’s popular drama, an English village teenager, Albert, is parted from his beloved equine, Joey, who’s been sold to the army and shipped off to France during World War I.Albert, pining away, is too young to enlist, but in despair manages to do so anyway, seeking Joey.This adaptation by Nick Stafford from the book by Michael Morpurgo proves to be an overlong and eventually tedious tale of endless, monochromatic warfare with a predictable ending. Read More
It’s all about the horse, of course.
In “War Horse,” the National Theatre of Great Britain’s popular drama, an English village teenager, Albert, is parted from his beloved equine, Joey, who’s been sold to the army and shipped off to France during World War I.
Albert, pining away, is too young to enlist, but in despair manages to do so anyway, seeking Joey.
This adaptation by Nick Stafford from the book by Michael Morpurgo proves to be an overlong and eventually tedious tale of endless, monochromatic warfare with a predictable ending. Read More