Jean Schiffman

Marga Gomez is great in “Spanking Machine,” presented by Brava. (Courtesy photo)

Solo shows by Marga Gomez, Geoff Hoyle work well on Zoom

Master performers create intimacy online

Marga Gomez is great in “Spanking Machine,” presented by Brava. (Courtesy photo)
American Conservatory Theater opened its season virtually with “In Love and Warcraft,” featuring, top, from left, James Mercer as Ryan and Cassandra Hunter as Evie, and, bottom, Evangeline Edwards as Kitty. (Courtesy ACT)

ACT opens virtually with ‘In Love and Warcraft’

Plentiful shorts in Our Digital Stories, up-close look at Euripides’ ‘Bacchae’

American Conservatory Theater opened its season virtually with “In Love and Warcraft,” featuring, top, from left, James Mercer as Ryan and Cassandra Hunter as Evie, and, bottom, Evangeline Edwards as Kitty. (Courtesy ACT)
We Players’ 2018 production of “Caesar Maximus” in Golden Gate Park is the basis of an effective new film the inventive troupe is streaming. (Courtesy Lauren Matley)

We Players take ‘Caesar’ from outdoor stage to screen

Marsh streams solo shows, with commentary

We Players’ 2018 production of “Caesar Maximus” in Golden Gate Park is the basis of an effective new film the inventive troupe is streaming. (Courtesy Lauren Matley)
San Francisco Shakespeare Festival’s 2020 Free Shakespeare at Home production of ”King Lear” features, from left, Yohana Ansari-Thomas, Phil Lowery and Jessica Powell in the title role. (Courtesy San Francisco Shakespeare Festival)

Streams go wild, from ‘King Lear’ to ‘Three’s Company’

‘Quack,’ ‘Paris Effect’ also worth checking out

San Francisco Shakespeare Festival’s 2020 Free Shakespeare at Home production of ”King Lear” features, from left, Yohana Ansari-Thomas, Phil Lowery and Jessica Powell in the title role. (Courtesy San Francisco Shakespeare Festival)
Regina Monique is excellent as a student who challenges her history professor in Shotgun Players’ timely “The Niceties” online in its final performances July 17-18. (Courtesy Jayme Catalano)

Shotgun Players’ ‘Niceties’ perfect for these times

SF Playhouse Zoomlets take audiences behind the scenes

Regina Monique is excellent as a student who challenges her history professor in Shotgun Players’ timely “The Niceties” online in its final performances July 17-18. (Courtesy Jayme Catalano)
Lloyd Suh’s “Why We Can’t Have Nice Things” is among the short works in Play at Home, which offers dozens of short scripts for theater lovers to read. (Courtesy Play at Home)

Check out Play at Home, Mime Troupe, Summer Briefs

Radio serials, new short scripts, and more

Lloyd Suh’s “Why We Can’t Have Nice Things” is among the short works in Play at Home, which offers dozens of short scripts for theater lovers to read. (Courtesy Play at Home)
Magician David Hirata, who presented the engaging “A Box Without a Bottom” at the Marsh, successfully reprises it online. (Courtesy Daniel D. Baumer)                                Magician David Hirata, who presented the engaging “A Box Without a Bottom” at the Marsh, successfully reprises it online. (Courtesy Daniel D. Baumer)

SF Playhouse hosts Zoomlets, David Hirata does magic

If being a fly on the (digital) wall at a first rehearsal…

Magician David Hirata, who presented the engaging “A Box Without a Bottom” at the Marsh, successfully reprises it online. (Courtesy Daniel D. Baumer)                                Magician David Hirata, who presented the engaging “A Box Without a Bottom” at the Marsh, successfully reprises it online. (Courtesy Daniel D. Baumer)
Set and costume designer Robert Perdziola discusses choices he made in American Conservatory Theater’s production of “Rhinoceros” — actor David Breitbarth is pictured — in the company’s online “Takes on a Scene” presentation. (Courtesy Kevin Berne)

From ‘Rhinoceros’ to Chekhov and Black Lives Matter

Theater classics go online, troupes take viewers behind the scenes

Set and costume designer Robert Perdziola discusses choices he made in American Conservatory Theater’s production of “Rhinoceros” — actor David Breitbarth is pictured — in the company’s online “Takes on a Scene” presentation. (Courtesy Kevin Berne)
Linda Amayo-Hassan’s “La Vida Lobo” — the 2019 premiere is pictured – is among the myriad works in PlayGround Zoom Fest; billed as the nation’s largest digital new play festival and presented by the renowned Bay Area theater development lab, it runs through June 14. (Courtesy Mellophoto.com)

PlayGround celebrates 25 years with big Zoom Fest

Local theaters expand online activity with plentiful offerings

Linda Amayo-Hassan’s “La Vida Lobo” — the 2019 premiere is pictured – is among the myriad works in PlayGround Zoom Fest; billed as the nation’s largest digital new play festival and presented by the renowned Bay Area theater development lab, it runs through June 14. (Courtesy Mellophoto.com)
Comedian Margo Gomez’s May 7 appearance on “Stephanie’s MarshStream,” an online show presented by Marsh co-founder Stephanie Weisman, can be seen on YouTube. (Courtesy Fabian Echevarria)

Podcasts, performances from Marsh, SF Playhouse, Magic and more

Theaters cleverly transition from stage to small screen

Comedian Margo Gomez’s May 7 appearance on “Stephanie’s MarshStream,” an online show presented by Marsh co-founder Stephanie Weisman, can be seen on YouTube. (Courtesy Fabian Echevarria)
Dawn Ursula, center is excellent as the title character American Conservatory Theater’s “Toni Stone.” Performances have been canceled, but ticket holders will have the opportunity to view a recording. (Courtesy Kevin Berne)

‘Toni Stone’ tells story of little-known baseball hero

ACT to provide recording of show to ticketholders

Dawn Ursula, center is excellent as the title character American Conservatory Theater’s “Toni Stone.” Performances have been canceled, but ticket holders will have the opportunity to view a recording. (Courtesy Kevin Berne)
Magic Theatre’s ‘Mangos’ a rich, memorable family tale

Magic Theatre’s ‘Mangos’ a rich, memorable family tale

Ricardo Pérez González premiere cleverly weaves varied tones

Magic Theatre’s ‘Mangos’ a rich, memorable family tale
From left, Carla Gallardo, Brady Morales-Woolery, Gendell Hernández (dancing) and Edie Flores appear in Word for Word’s “Retablos” by Octavio Solis. (Courtesy Lorenzo Fernandez-Kopec)

‘Retablos,’ ‘On the Periphery’ explore life on the border

Word for Word, Golden Thread, Crowded Fire dramas set in Texas, Turkey

From left, Carla Gallardo, Brady Morales-Woolery, Gendell Hernández (dancing) and Edie Flores appear in Word for Word’s “Retablos” by Octavio Solis. (Courtesy Lorenzo Fernandez-Kopec)
From left, Champagne Hughes, Kimberly Ridgeway and Don Wood appear in “The Human Ounce. (Courtesy Jim Norrena)

‘Human Ounce’ engagingly explores art and responsibility

‘The Supers’ packed with clowning and chaos

From left, Champagne Hughes, Kimberly Ridgeway and Don Wood appear in “The Human Ounce. (Courtesy Jim Norrena)
Scott Shepherd (foreground) and Elevator Repair Service bring “The Great Gatsby” to life in “Gatz.” (Courtesy Ian Douglas)

Fitzgerald classic springs to life in ‘Gatz’ at Berkeley Rep

‘Born in East Berlin’ explores pivotal Springsteen concert

Scott Shepherd (foreground) and Elevator Repair Service bring “The Great Gatsby” to life in “Gatz.” (Courtesy Ian Douglas)
From left, Kina Kantor, Susi Damilano, Jomar Tagatac and Mark Anderson Phillips appear in San Francisco Playhouse’s “Tiny Beautiful Things.” (Courtesy Jessica Palopoli)

Strayed’s advice works better on page than stage

Clever staging lifts SF Playhouse’s ‘Tiny Beautiful Things’

From left, Kina Kantor, Susi Damilano, Jomar Tagatac and Mark Anderson Phillips appear in San Francisco Playhouse’s “Tiny Beautiful Things.” (Courtesy Jessica Palopoli)
Kathryn Smith-McGlynn and Tony Hale appear in American Conservatory Theater’s production of Will Eno’s “Wakey, Wakey.” (Courtesy Kevin Berne)

‘Wakey’ a touching meditation on the meaning of life

Tony Hale charms in ACT production of Will Eno’s almost one-person show

Kathryn Smith-McGlynn and Tony Hale appear in American Conservatory Theater’s production of Will Eno’s “Wakey, Wakey.” (Courtesy Kevin Berne)
From left, Malcolm Rodgers, Hilary Hesse, Matt Weimer and Karen Offereins appear in Custom Made Theatre’s “How To Transcend a Happy Marriage.” (Courtesy Jay Yamada)

Strong casts, puzzling plays from Custom Made, Cutting Ball

‘How to Transcend a Happy Marriage,’ ‘Ways to Leave a Body’ prompt lots of questions

From left, Malcolm Rodgers, Hilary Hesse, Matt Weimer and Karen Offereins appear in Custom Made Theatre’s “How To Transcend a Happy Marriage.” (Courtesy Jay Yamada)
Kate Robards’ solo show “PolySHAMory” runs at The Marsh through Feb. 8. (Courtesy Joan Marcus)

Open marriage goes wrong in funny ‘PolySHAMory’

Yet Kate Robards’ teasing show looks at complex issues slightly

Kate Robards’ solo show “PolySHAMory” runs at The Marsh through Feb. 8. (Courtesy Joan Marcus)
Pamela Reed, center, plays the title character in Berkeley Repertory Theatre’s premiere of Sarah Ruhl’s “Becky Nurse of Salem.” (Courtesy Kevin Berne/Berkeley Repertory Theatre)

‘Becky Nurse of Salem’ takes on too many issues

Playwright Sarah Ruhl’s heavy handed in Berkeley Rep premiere

Pamela Reed, center, plays the title character in Berkeley Repertory Theatre’s premiere of Sarah Ruhl’s “Becky Nurse of Salem.” (Courtesy Kevin Berne/Berkeley Repertory Theatre)