Stage might - Page 2

Upstage/Downstage Awards: theater's best and worst of 2012

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From The Hundred Flowers Project
PHOTO BY PAK HAN

Best couple to give George and Martha a run for their money Megan Trout and Joe Estlack as Beth and Jake in Sam Shepard's A Lie of the Mind at Boxcar Theatre. Trout and Estlack were powerhouses, terrifying and devastating by turns, but director Susannah Martin's production was a winner all around, fitting nicely into Boxcar's generally outstanding four-play Sam Shepard festival. (Avila)

Most glam-infused baker's dozen Another from Boxcar: its summertime take on beloved rock musical Hedwig and the Angry Inch was certainly the most vibrant live production of it I've ever seen. Filling the stage with 12 Hedwigs and one very kickass Yitzhak (Anna Ishida), director Nick A. Olivero enhanced the rock club vibe with his unique line-up of "fractured" Hedwigs in skintight gear dripping with sweat and glitter, a guest DJ, and plenty of interaction with the rowdy Hed-heads who packed the house. (Gluckstern)

Best supporting cast Rami Margron in Precious Little at Shotgun. A fine three-member ensemble (also featuring Zehra Berkman and Nancy Carlin) was made to seem much larger thanks especially to Margron's nimble work as, alternately, a streetwise graduate student, the nebbishy daughter of an aging research subject, a chirpy medical counselor, a relentlessly talkative little girl, and an entire crowd of visitors to the zoo. (Avila)

Most pleasurable peeks behind the mask Although the subject matter of each play were completely different, what The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity (at Aurora Theatre) and Truffaldino Says No (at Shotgun Players) had in common was their unmasking of traditionally disguised figures whose role in life is to entertain: professional wrestlers and commedia dell'arte stock characters. Masks off, a pair of truly memorable characters emerged — fall guy in the ring Macedonio "Mace" Guerra (Tony Sancho), and Truffaldino (William Thomas Hodgson), set to follow in the pratfalling footsteps of his father, the famous Arlecchino (Stephen Buescher). While neither play was entirely without flaw, these winsome protagonists bore their respective identity crises with wit, bravery, and heart. (Gluckstern)

Most prescient debut Mojo Theatre. It was in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, many miles away from the storm's path, in an obscure upstairs theater of the old Redstone Building on 16th Street, that Lost Love, a little jewel of an existentialist comedy from director-playwright Peter Papadopoulos, marked the San Francisco debut of impressive newcomers Mojo Theatre — and prefigured the day's events with humane intelligence and uncanny meteorological instincts. (Avila)

Best example of "I might as well have slept in and just read the press release" The art of the interview is a delicate balance of research and serendipity, and just as important as knowing what questions to ask is knowing when to let the subject take the lead — which made interviewing the truly legendary playwright Eve Ensler on her newest piece, Emotional Creature (performed at Berkeley Rep), so frustrating. She never deviated from her well-worn script with any fresh insights, to the point where it didn't seem to matter what my questions were. My only consolation is the fact that every other interview I've read with Ensler on the topic has unfolded almost word-for-word the same as my own — so at least I know I'm not alone. (Gluckstern)

Sexiest scene in which the actors don't move (but the stage does) Alex Moggridge and Marilee Talkington at a slowly rotating pub table in Mark Jackson's Salomania at Aurora. Eros and Thanatos seemed in a slow dance with each other in this striking flirtation between a jaded frontline soldier and a war widow recently liberated from stultifying domesticity. (Avila)

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