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Category: Theater

‘TREASURE ISLAND:’ SLAM-BANG PIRACY, MUTINY, GOLD

‘TREASURE ISLAND:’ SLAM-BANG PIRACY, MUTINY, GOLD

Berkeley Rep and Zimmerman Do It Again BERKELEY — Having the Berkeley Repertory Theatre (BRT) nearby is opportune indeed. This is one of the premiere theaters in the nation, and thanks to Founder Michael Leibert and current Artistic Director Tony Taccone, we have some of the best plays coming our way. Currently they are producing “Treasure Island”, adapted and directed by Mary Zimmerman who has had 7 other shows at the BRT. Besides being a winner of the 1998 MacArthur…

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SCIENTISTS CROSS SWORDS

SCIENTISTS CROSS SWORDS

Theories & Generations Clash in Treem Play BERKELEY — “The How and the Why” at the Aurora Theatre is a terrific two-woman play by the noted playwright Sarah Treem. It is intense and profound with an ending that leaves the audience questioning the scientific theories of the characters. Treem has written and produced the series “”The Affair”, “In Treatment” and “House and Cards”, among others . She has won awards for many of them, including a Golden Globe. She is…

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PRIZE-WINNING PLAY ABOUT THE OFFICE SCENE

PRIZE-WINNING PLAY ABOUT THE OFFICE SCENE

Playwright Rachel Bond’s “Swimmers” is a play about small and personal subjects set in an office. Large subjects would include the rest of the world out of the office where these dissatisfied workers are stuck. This play underwent two weeks of previews to straighten out some of the kinks, but could use a few more weeks of the fine tuning that it will undoubtedly get if it moves on to other theaters. Is it just a coincidence that two works…

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‘THE NETHER:’ IN AND OUT OF A VIRTUAL WORLD

‘THE NETHER:’ IN AND OUT OF A VIRTUAL WORLD

Image that you live part time in real time, and part time in virtual reality time. Image that all your wishes from one could turn into fait accompli in the other. Of your fantasies, which are morally right? Can anything go? This is the main question posed by Jennifer Haley in her drama “The Nether” now playing at the San Francisco Playhouse. It has played in Los Angeles and New York as well as internationally. It raises the moral questions…

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THE BLACK EXPERIENCE, VIA AUGUST WILSON

THE BLACK EXPERIENCE, VIA AUGUST WILSON

“Gem of the Ocean” playing at the Marin Theatre Company tells the story of six people with Aunt Ester, played by the very talented Margo Hall, as the center of the action. The other five circle around her, but her story cements the historical and emotional center. She is supposed to be 285 years old, someone whose birth goes back to 1619, the date that African Americans came to North America. She is a spiritualist who is said to perform…

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TAUT CULTURE-CLASH DRAMA AT BERKELEY REP

TAUT CULTURE-CLASH DRAMA AT BERKELEY REP

Berkeley Rep is staging “Disgraced” by Ayad Akhtar, which won the Pulitzer Prize in 2013. It is a drama that exposes the prejudices and myths held by everyone in the small cast (five actors playing two couples and a teenage nephew). The couples represent 4 different ethnic groups, and the nephew, like the main character Amir, is Muslim. The play opens in the chic upper East Side Manhattan apartment of Emily and Amir. Emily (Nisi Sturgis) is the blond, wasp-y…

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FILIPINO TANDEM TALES IN A.C.T.’S ‘MONSTRESS’

FILIPINO TANDEM TALES IN A.C.T.’S ‘MONSTRESS’

Everything is new about “Monstress”, the production of the American Conservatory Theater. The venue is the new Strand Theatre, the script comes from two short stories adapted for the stage and the subject is Filipino-American life both in San Francisco and in Manila. “Monstress” comes from two short stories by Lysley Tenorio. They have been adapted by Philip Kan Gotanda and Sean San José for the stage. Its music is sung beautifully by Melody Butiu and dancing also accompanies the…

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SONDHEIM’S ‘COMPANY’ RETURNS, TRACING WAYS OF LOVE

SONDHEIM’S ‘COMPANY’ RETURNS, TRACING WAYS OF LOVE

SF Playhouse has neatly staged one of Stephen Sondheim’s greatest hits, “Company,” a musical play about Robert who is celebrating his 35th birthday with lots of friends. He is single and most of them, except for his three girlfriends, are married. What makes Sondheim great is his persistent minimal beat, his playing with dissonance, his frenetic pace juxtaposed with beautiful ballads, his element of quick and unexpected change and that doesn’t even mention his complex and philosophical lyrics that are…

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ANNA D. SMITH’S INTERACTIVE FORM OF THEATER

ANNA D. SMITH’S INTERACTIVE FORM OF THEATER

One-Woman Show with Multiple-Person Interviews BERKELEY — For an all too short run ending August 2, Anna D. Smith’s new one-woman show was launched at the Berkeley Rep. True to all of Smith’s previous works, “Notes from the Field: Doing Time in Education, The California Chapter” deals with important societal issues. It is told through a series of interviews where Smith plays the parts of interviewees, school officials, police officers, juvenile criminals and other people culled from the over 150…

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A SITCOM-LIKE, SEINFELD-LIKE COMEDY

A SITCOM-LIKE, SEINFELD-LIKE COMEDY

The SF Playhouse offers a Pinteresque mad-cap via the world premiere of Richard Dresser’s “Trouble Cometh”—funny and true, from the minute it starts. Five actors replicate a New York firm that produces TV reality shows. It assigns two writers the task of coming up with the next big thing. Joe (Kyle Cameron) is the unwitting newby whose sadistic boss Dennis (Patrick Russell) goads him at every opportunity. Joe and Dennis have a deadline where the “line” part keeps changing with…

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