April 24, 2002


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stage


Stage listings are compiled by Cheryl Eddy. Performance times may change; call venues to confirm. Reviewers are Robert Avila, Sima Belmar, Rita Felciano, and Brad Rosenstein. Theater intern is Lara Shalson. See 8 Days a Week for information on how to submit items to the listings.

theater

Opening

Io! Princess of Argos Thick House, 1695 18th St; 401-8081. Previews Sat/27-Sun/28, 8pm. Opens Mon/29, 8pm. Runs Thurs-Sun, 8pm (also May 13, 8pm, special actors' benefit performance). Through May 19. Encore Theatre Company presents Mark Jackson and Marci Karr's cabaret musical inspired by a character in Aeschylus's Prometheus Bound.

Shakespeare's R&J New Conservatory Theatre Center, 25 Van Ness; 861-8972. 861-8972. $18-35. Previews Wed/24-Sat/27 and Wed/1, 8pm; Sun/28, 2pm. Opens Sat/4, 8pm. Runs Wed-Sat, 8pm; May 12, 26, June 9, 16, and 23, 2pm. Through June 29. The New Conservatory Theatre Center presents Joe Calarco's version of Romeo and Juliet, set in a Catholic school for boys.

Tape Magic Theatre, Fort Mason Center, Bldg D, Marina at Laguna; 441-8822. $17-37 (Sun/5, pay what you can). Previews Wed/24-Thurs/25, 8pm. Opens Fri/26, 8pm. Runs Wed-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 2:30pm (also Sun/5 and May 12, 7:30pm). Through May 12. See 8 Days a Week, page 44.

Bay Area

Homebody/Kabul Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Thrust Stage, 2025 Addison, Berk; (510) 647-2949. $38-54. Opens Wed/24, 8pm. Runs Tues and Thurs-Sat, 8pm (also Sat/27, Thurs/2, Sat/4, May 11, 16, 25, 30, June 8, 15, and 22, 2pm; no show Fri/3); Wed and Sun, 7pm (also Sun, 2pm). Through June 23. Berkeley Rep performs Tony Kushner's play about an English woman who disappears in Taliban-controlled Kabul.

Medea UC Theatre, 2036 University, Berk; (510) 704-8210. Previews Thurs/25-Fri/26, 8pm. Opens Sat/27, 8pm. Runs Thurs-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 7pm. Through June 1. Shotgun Players present Euripides' revenge tragedy.

Ongoing

Ain't Misbehavin' Lorraine Hansberry Theatre, 620 Sutter; 474-8800. $22-30. Thurs/25-Sat/27, 8pm; Sun/28, 2pm. The Lorraine Hansberry Theatre presents the musical, set in 1930s Harlem and featuring the music of Fats Waller.

The Altruists Actors Theatre of San Francisco, 533 Sutter; 296-9179. $20-35. Thurs-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 7pm. Through May 18. The Actors Theatre of San Francisco presents a play about people who don't match their politics.

Are We Almost There? Shelton Theatre, 533 Sutter; 345-7575. $19-23. Thurs-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 2pm. Extended through June 16. The musical comedy revue about traveling returns to the Shelton Theatre.

Bombs over Baghdad New Langton Arts, 1246 Folsom; 290-1576. $15. Fri-Sun, 8pm. Through Sun/5. Texas Theater Company presents a new play by Jeff Kellner set in Baghdad just before the Gulf War. In an office of the Iraqi Ministry of Information, two soldiers, Hassan (Paul Santiago) and Abbas (Brian Raffi), struggle to come up with catchy slogans to lure tourists to Iraq. To this end, their commanding officer, Tariq (Greg Dubin), has brought in a high-powered Beverly Hills consultant, Nick Shine (Zach Jordan). As Saddam Hussein's plans for invading Kuwait evolve into a confrontation with the United States, the group's assignment shifts first to justifying the invasion and finally to anti-American propaganda. Since Saddam has ordered all Westerners in the country held as hostages, Nick has no choice but to go along, even as the storm clouds of war befoul his sunshiny disposition. Despite the timely déjà vu of the subject matter, the script stretches this simple premise too thin, forcing director Tony Castellano to fill its vast empty spaces with awkward pauses and actions. Jordan's gum-snapping L.A. ad man easily walks away with the show, which is otherwise weak on the satiric front. (Avila)

By Jupiter Eureka Theatre, 215 Jackson; 255-8207. $15-27. Thurs-Fri, 8pm; Sat, 6pm; Sun, 2pm. Through May 12. 42nd Street Moon launches its Richard Rodgers centennial season with the final show of Rodgers's brilliant collaboration with lyricist Lorenz Hart. The book, by Rodgers and Hart and based on Julian Thompson's The Warrior's Husband, is a playful trifle about the inversion of gender roles in Pontus, where the Amazon women fight and rule and where men tend the children and look pretty. When a party of Greeks led by Theseus (John Patrick Moore) comes to steal the girdle of Diana from Amazonian queen Hippolyta (Lesley Hamilton), sex turns out to be the decisive force on the field of battle, reshuffling the "natural" order of things. Judging by contemporary reviews, the joke got a little thin even in 1942, but the lovely score features such gems as "Nobody's Heart," "Wait till You See Her," "Careless Rhapsody," and Hart at his naughty witty best with "Ev'rything I've Got." The dancing of Ray Bolger and company played a major role in the original production, and director Jenny Lord and choreographer Jayne Zaban give a fluid sense of movement in this concert staging, even managing a suggestion of how seductive the original ballet to "In the Gateway of the Temple of Minerva" must have been. The large cast is typically uneven, but Hamilton and Cynthia Myers as tough cookie Antiope do very fine work, and the show's costuming (by Cindy Brillhart-True and Linda Rawls) is some of the company's most ambitious to date. Don't ask why the Greeks' suits of armor, not to mention the names of their gods, are Roman – just ride, Amazon, ride. (Rosenstein)

Chain Reactions and Tick-a-licious Next Stage, 1620 Gough; 673-0304, ext 3. $15-20. Thurs/25-Sat/27, 8pm. Combined Art Form Entertainment presents two new one-acts that tackle the big questions in singular ways. Trevor Allen's Chain Reactions, directed by Rob Melrose, weaves a cosmic tapestry of asynchronous lifetimes. The script sacrifices some dramatic coherence to the harmony of the theme, but able performances and impressive sound and set designs by Steve Kahn and Daniel Thobias, respectively, lend considerable force to Allen's inventive work. Shaun Church's irresistible Tick-a-licious, meanwhile, lands us on planet Mirth, where Mirthlings evolve from simple pleasure sponges to self-aware angst-ridden Care Bear existentialists. Church's talent for storytelling and wordplay receives exactly the right touch from director Cris Cassell and further benefits from three dedicated performers swaddled in Erin Blendu and Lori Hebert's playful costumes. (Avila)

Come, My Beloved Traveling Jewish Theatre, 470 Florida; 399-1809. $12.50-25. Thurs-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 2 and 7pm. Through May 19. See "Grounded," page 36.

Confessions of a Dope Dealer Exit Cafe, 156 Eddy; 666-3939. $10-15. Thurs-Sat, 8:30pm. Through May 11. Sheldon Norberg presents his autobiographical solo show, a comedic look at his drug experiences.

Enter the Guardsman Gershwin Theater, 2350 Turk; 978-2787. $20-38. Wed/24-Sat/27, 8pm (also Sat/27, 2pm); Sun/28, 2pm. Lamplighters Musical Theatre presents the comedic musical about a newlywed couple trying to keep romance alive.

Euphor!um Presidio (enter from Marina Blvd through Crissy Field gate), Bldg 920, Mason St; 332-9454. $15. Extended run: Thurs/25, 6-10pm; Fri/26-Sat/27, 7-11:30pm; Sun/28, 3-7pm. Antenna presents its interactive journey through Samuel Taylor Coleridge's opium-inspired poem "Kubla Khan."

*Frank Olivier's Twisted Cabaret and Pandemonium Vaudeville Show Mason Street Theatre, 340 Mason; 982-5463. $30-42. Extended run: Fri, 8:30pm; Sat, 5:30 and 9pm; Sun, 3:30pm. Through Sun/5. Also, the "Midnight Madness" version of the show, with more extreme acts, runs Fri, midnight, through Fri/3. Jugglers don't come much better or stranger than Frank Olivier, a one-man reincarnation of vaudeville with a decided edge. This show features the performer as more than a dozen showbiz characters, including a pointedly inept magician and an emotionally distraught knife thrower. There are hits and misses, but when Olivier is juggling, no one can touch him, not just for his mind-bending skill but also for his perfectly honed awkward-guy appeal, which gets the audience roaring. (Rosenstein)

The Glass Menagerie Geary Theater, 415 Geary; 749-2228. $15-61. Wed/24-Sat/27, 8pm (also Wed/24 and Sat/27-Sun/28, 2pm). Unbelievably, this is the first time American Conservatory Theater has mounted Tennessee Williams's classic in its 35-year history. But aside from introducing some interesting textual variants, director Laird Williamson's production sheds little new light on a play we all have known perhaps a bit too well since high school. The most piquant twist is Amanda, played splendidly by Robin Moseley, who unlike most actors plays her not as a batty warm-up to Blanche DuBois but as an extremely practical Southern lady with steely determination. It's an illuminating approach, but it also oversimplifies the play's complex and conflicted defense of the sensitive spirit in a brutal world. (Rosenstein)

Lavender Lockeroom Theatre Rhinoceros, 2926 16th St; 861-5079. $15-18. Return engagement: opens Thurs/25, 8:30pm. Runs Thurs-Sat, 8:30pm; Sun, 7:30pm. Through May 12. HPH Players and Theatre Rhinoceros present the world premiere of F. Allen Sawyer's comedy inspired by gay pulp novels of the 1950s and '60s.

Michelangelo Did This? Exit Theatre, 156 Eddy; 981-6444. $10-20. Thurs-Sat, 8pm. Through May 11. Genghis Productions presents Howard Hain's black comedy that imagines what would happen if Michelangelo were reincarnated as "a putz living in Iowa."

'Mr. Williams Pays a Call' Potrero Hill Neighborhood House Theatre, 953 De Haro; 364-3037. $18. Fri/26-Sat/27, 8pm; Sun/28, 5pm. Class Act Theatre presents a program of one-acts by Tennessee Williams.

*My Brother Sang like Roy Orbison Bannam Place Theater, 50A Bannam; 986-4607. $15-18. Fri-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 3pm. Through Sun/5. Randy Rutherford, an adept performer, subtly conveys youth's doubts, hesitations, and improvisations in a soulful and engrossing account of his early manhood in the 1960s. Unable to raise him herself, Randy's mother sends him to live with Denny, an older boy who once had the same stepdad as Randy. The charismatic young man with a crooner's throat and a cherry red Corvette becomes both big brother and idol to the shy, undersize 16-year-old. There's humor, nostalgia, and suspense in the details of their life together, conveyed with unflinching love against the backdrop of Vietnam, a war that transforms the nation and their relationship. Directed with quiet assurance by Freddie Long, Rutherford's story inevitably blends his coming-of-age with the country's coming apart in an affecting tale of lost innocence. (Avila)

Sisters Phoenix Theatre, 414 Mason, Ste 601; 989-0023. $20 (Thurs, pay what you can). Thurs-Sat, 8pm. Through May 25. Phoenix Theatre (now operating out of a new space) presents Wendy Lill's play about a nun arrested for burning down a school for Native American children.

Speak the Devil Exit Theater, 156 Eddy; 820-1670. $10-18. Thurs-Sat, 8pm. Through May 11. The SF Buffoons present an original dark comedy inspired by medieval fools and street performers.

Stones in His Pockets Curran Theatre, 445 Geary; 512-7770. $34-59. Tues-Sat, 8pm (also Wed and Sat-Sun, 2pm). Through May 12. See "Grounded," page 36.

'Three 2 Life' Intersection for the Arts, 446 Valencia; 626-3311. $9-15. Fri-Sat, 8pm. Through Sat/4. Part of Intersection for the Arts's ongoing Hybrid Project, "Three 2 Life" brings together established San Francisco artists Donald Lacy, Shawn Taylor, and Edris Cooper-Anifowoshe in a thought-provoking evening of solo performances exploring the themes of life, death, and race relations in the United States. First up is Lacy's Color Struck, which contemplates identity politics experienced by a light-skinned black man growing up in the Bay Area. Part comedy routine and part history lesson, the piece tackles the history of white supremacy in America but is too meandering and fractured to get beneath the surface of its investigation. Taylor's monologue tells the story of his experience being shot and the spiritual and personal transformation he underwent as a result. Cooper-Anifowoshe's performance is the strongest of the three, bringing together several short scenes in which the artist plays different characters commenting on a range of topics from AIDS in Africa to chemical weapons testing in the United States. (Shalson)

'Unidentified One-Act Marathon' Union Square Playhouse, 340 Mason; 846-9501. $10-15. Sun/28-Tues/30, 7pm. Unidentified Theater Company presents a program of seven plays by local writers directed by seven directors.

The Very Worst of Varla Jean Merman New Conservatory Theatre Center, 25 Van Ness; 861-8972. Wed-Sat, 8pm (also Sat/27 and Sat/4, 10pm). Through Sat/4. Varla Jean Merman (a.k.a. Jeffery Roberson) promises to "educate" her audience during this 70-minute drag cabaret in which Merman variously sings, plays the clarinet, and shows videos of her trips to Provincetown and Tokyo. The claim is clearly intended as a joke, sending up and celebrating the vacuous nature of Merman's part smutty, part ditzy, part being-un-"p.c."-is-fun! performance, which includes a song about talking to genitals and another piece in which Merman consumes nearly an entire can of spray cheese – all just fine if you find that sort of thing amusing. To her credit, Merman is a very good-looking airhead with some fabulous costumes, and she sports an impressive vocal range. Her performance of a medley from Schoolhouse Rock is the highlight of the evening, when all the immaturity (complete with a Shirley Temple lisp), finally makes sense. (Shalson)

Bay Area

A Flea in Her Ear Altarena Playhouse, 1409 High, Alameda; (510) 523-1553. $9-12. Fri-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 2pm. Through May 12. Alameda Little Theatre presents George Feydeau's action comedy.

In Search of a Legend Berkeley Black Repertory Theater Company, 3201 Adeline, Berk; (510) 652-2120. $12. Fri/26-Sat/27, 8pm; Sun/28, 5pm. Jonal Productions and Berkeley Black Repertory Theatre Co. present Johnny Land's musical tribute to the life of Josephine Baker.

Kept Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts, 500 Castro, Mountain View; (650) 903-6000. $20-40. Tues, 7:30pm (no show Tues/30); Wed-Sat, 8pm (also Sat, 2pm); Sun, 2 and 7pm (Sun/5, show at 2pm only). Through Sun/5. Best summed up in a program note as "Camille and La Traviata with a disco beat," this new TheatreWorks musical by Stephen Chbosky (coauthor), Bill Russell (coauthor and lyricist), and Henry Krieger (music) updates Alexandre Dumas fils's 19th-century classic to New York in 1979 and '80. Parisian high society, with its shallowness, decadence, and sharp economic edges, translates quite well to the Studio 54 era. In fact, the authors can't quite decide between their obvious admiration for the glamour and liberation of the pre-AIDS period and the simplistic moral equations of their source materials. The result is an uneasy slip 'n' slide, with their heroine, Caleigh (Christiane Noll) presented as an odd mixture of Violetta, Garbo, and Sally Bowles. (Rosenstein)

Long Day's Journey into Night Live Oak Theatre, 1301 Shattuck, Berk; (510) 528-5620. $10. Fri-Sat and May 9, 8pm. Through May 11. Actors Ensemble of Berkeley presents Eugene O'Neill's play.

Pericles LaVal's Subterranean, 1834 Euclid, Berk; (510) 234-6046. $10-14. Thurs-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 7pm. Through Sat/4. Subterranean Shakespeare presents the Bard's classic with masks, puppets, and eight actors in 35 roles.

L'Universe Roda Theatre, 2025 Addison, Berk; (510) 647-2949. Tues-Fri, 8pm (no show May 10; added show May 9, noon); Sat, 2 and 8pm; Sun, 1 and 4:30pm. Through May 19. The Flying Karamazov Brothers present a show that uses juggling, music, physical theater, and comedy to explore the mysteries of the universe.

dance

'All Contact All Improv' 848 Community Space, 848 Divisadero; 922-2385. Sat, 8pm. Free. Keith Hennessy curates this evening of contact improv (participants include Andres Rojo, Jo Kreiter, Scott Wells, and others), which includes a performance followed by a "participatory jam."

Alonzo King's Lines Ballet Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Theatre, 700 Howard; 978-ARTS. Wed-Thurs, 8pm; Sun, 7pm. $20-35. The company presents its San Francisco Spring 2002 Season performances with a live commissioned score by kotoist Miya Masaoka.

'Bay Area Celebrates National Dance Week' (510) 918-2057, www.voiceofdance.com. Fri/26-Sun/5. Free. Free dance classes, open rehearsals, and performances (including a miniperformance by the Joe Goode Performance Group Tues, 7:30pm, the Marsh, 1062 Valencia) are offered throughout the Bay Area; call the hotline or check the Web site for details.

'Bay Area Dancing: The Early Years 1915-1965' Symposium: San Francisco Public Library, Main Branch, Koret Auditorium, 100 Larkin. Sat, 10am-5pm. Free. Performance: ODC Theater, 3153 17th St. Sun, 5pm. $10 donation (benefits Peters Wright Creative Dance and Bay Area Dancing). (510) 653-8111. See Critic's Choice.

Dandelion Dance Theater ODC Theater, 3153 17th St; 863-9834. Thurs-Sat, 8pm. Through Sat/4. $15-17. Dandelion codirectors Eric Kupers and Kimiko Guthrie present Guthrie's world premiere Strange Hole, Kupers's world premiere Start Adrift, Part 2, and Kupers's Undressed (first weekend only). Los Angeles-based Hae Kyung Lee and Dancers join the program (second weekend only) with three premieres presented in collaboration with Liquid Skin composer Steve Moshier.

'ODC/Unplugged: Sleepy Beauty' ODC Theater, 3153 17th St; 863-9834. Mon, 7pm. $15. KT Nelson previews her new piece, an updated version of Sleeping Beauty.

'San Francisco Ballet 2002 Repertory Season' War Memorial Opera House, 301 Van Ness; 865-2000. Program seven: Wed, 7:30pm; Thurs-Sat, 8pm (also Sat-Sun, 2pm). Program seven consists of Silver Ladders, world premiere Damned, and Sandpaper Ballet.

SoulForce Theater Artaud, 450 Florida; 621-7797. Thurs-Sun, 8pm. $20-22. The hip-hop dance company, led by choreographer Micaya, performs a new show set to music by Mystikal, Mary J. Blige, and others.

Salt Farm and Toumei Dance Mission, 3316 24th St; 273-4633. Fri-Sun, 8pm. $15-18. Salt Farm, led by artistic director Ledoh, presents the butoh piece Abacus II; in an overlapping performance, Toumei, led by artistic director Takami, presents the modern butoh piece Reviving Flowers.

'16th Annual Isadora Duncan Dance Awards' (the 'Izzies') War Memorial Opera House, Green Room, 401 Van Ness; www.izzies-sf.org. Tues, 6pm, free. See 8 Days a Week, page 44.

Transit Exit on Taylor, 277 Taylor; 273-5890. Thurs-Sat, 8pm. $10-15. The multigenerational dance troupe performs As One.

Bay Area

'Dance-A-Rama' 8th Street Center, 2525 Eighth St, Berk; (510) 848-4878. Sun, 2-4pm. Free. In honor of National Dance Week, Aileen Kim, Ann Swigart, Sima Belmar (a Bay Guardian contributor), Jim Beatty, Mary Armentrout, and others participate in a performance marathon.

FlipSide Dance Theatre and Vertigo Dance Alice Arts Theatre, 1428 Alice, Oakl; (415) 272-5663. Fri-Sat, 8pm. $12-15. The modern dance troupes copresent Herstory of History, a work that explores the strength of the female spirit.

Jyoti Rout and Jyoti Kala Mandir Julia Morgan Center for the Arts, 2640 College, Berk; (415) 412-2165. $10-15. The choreographers present Buddha: The Path of Light, an Odissi dance performance.

The Movement Julia Morgan Center for the Arts, 2640 College, Berk; (925) 798-1300. Thurs, 7pm. $5. The UC Berkeley student group performs its spring 2002 showcase of works.

Moving Arts Dance Dean Lesher Regional Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic, Walnut Creek; (925) 938-3300. Fri, 8pm. $15-20. The contemporary dance group performs works by new artistic director Charles Anderson, Michael Lowe, and others.

'Rhythm and Motion Dance Center Open House Dance-In' Rhythm and Motion Dance Center, 1133 Mission; 621-0643. Sun, 3-7pm. Free. In celebration of National Dance Week the center holds a day of free classes and events.

'University Dance Theater Spring 2002 Season' Zellerbach Hall, UC Berkeley, Bancroft at Telegraph, Berk; (510) 642-9925. Fri-Sat, 8pm (also Sat-Sun, 2pm). $6-12. UC Berkeley dancers present a variety of new works, including excerpts from Jose Limon's A Choreographic Offering.

performance

'A Bellydance Extravaganza' Brava Theater Center, 2789 24th St; fureyousproductions@yahoo.com. Sat, 7:30pm. $12. Eleven musicians and ten belly dancers take the stage at this show.

'ĦBrava Havana!' Brava Theater Center, 2789 24th St; 392-4400. Tues/30-Sat/4, 8pm; Sun/5, 3pm. $30. Cuban cabaret star Juana Bacallao performs.

'The Bride Making Ready' Bayview Opera House, Ruth Williams Memorial Theatre, 4705 Third St; 924-0386. Sat-Sun, 8pm (also Sun, 3pm). $15. Pathlight Productions and Infinity Productions present a gospel play written and directed by Mary L. Booker.

'The Cantankerous Lollies Burlesque Variety Show' Hotel Utah Saloon, 500 Fourth St; 421-8308. Fri, 9pm. $7. This show features burlesque dancers, live music with Kitten on the Keys, and other side vaudeville-style acts.

Daniel Packard Odeon Bar, 3223 Mission; www.danielpackard.com. Sat, 8pm, $7-9. "Fusion comedian" Daniel Packard performs.

David Gaines York Hotel, Plush Room, 940 Sutter; 885-2800. Wed-Sat, 8pm (also Sat, 10:30pm). $30. The Broadway star (The Phantom of the Opera) performs in a cabaret.

'DragPie' Marlena's, 488 Hayes; 864-6672. Fri, 10:30pm and midnight. Free. A cast of drag performers – including Cockatelia, Gypsy Calabrese, Sonfondaboyz, Manley Lennox, and Karen Kill – perform; this week's theme is "Get Down and Dirty."

'Irrational Exuberance' 848 Community Space, 848 Divisadero; (510) 847-0552, www.liminalzone.org. Fri, 8pm. $6-10. Playwright and poet Camille Roy, tape manipulator Matthew Davignon, musicians Evidence of the King, poet Sam Tsitrin, and others take the stage for multimedia performance.

'Journey Through Polynesia: Manuia' SomArts Cultural Center, 934 Brannan; 440-7148. Thurs-Fri, 8pm. $6-12. This performance includes music and traditional dance from Hawaii, Samoa, New Zealand, Tonga, and Fiji.

'LuminEssence' Victoria Theatre, 2961 16th St; 1-866-SF-SHOWS. Fri, 8pm; Sat, 7 and 9pm; Sun, 3pm. Through Sun/5. $$27-35. The Richmond/Ermet AIDS Foundation benefits from this event, a cabaret of Vegas-style variety entertainment.

'PuppetLove! Festival of Radical Puppetry' cell space, 2050 Bryant; 905-5958. Thurs-Sun, times vary. $5-50. (415) 905-5958, www.zeitgeist.net /wfca/PL2002.htm. See 8 Days a Week, page 44.

'Search and Rescue: An Evening of Original Short Plays' El Teatro de la Esperanza, 2940 16th St; 255-2320. Fri-Sat, 8:30pm. $5-8. San Francisco State University's "GreenHouse 2002" series presents short plays centered on the theme of search and rescue.

'Skin Hot – Bone Deep' Jon Sims Center for the Arts, 1519 Mission; 554-0402. Fri, 7 and 9pm. $8-15. Veronica C. Combs and her Liquid Fire Productions perform a work-in-progress piece about the erotic power of lesbian and bisexual women of color.

'So Far' Phoenix Theater, 414 Mason; 1-866-GOT-FURY. Mon-Tues, 8pm. $10. Foolsfury Theater presents Constance Congdon's new dark comedy.

'Sound Stage' Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, 701 Mission; 978-ARTS. Thurs-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 2pm. $7-20. The Paul Dresher Ensemble presents a new, kid-friendly music theater work about making music, featuring a set made of oversize musical instruments.

'Tokyo Bound' Noh Space, 2840 Mariposa; 440-5545. Thurs-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 2 and 7pm. $15-25. Amy Hill performs her autobiographical multimedia show about a Japanese-Finnish woman who embarks on a personal journey to discover more about her mother, a native of Japan.

comedy

Bayfront Theater Fort Mason Center, Bldg B, Third fl, Marina at Laguna; 474-8935. Thurs, 8pm: "Hot Topic!," improvised songs and sketches, $7. Fri-Sat, 8pm: "More or Less," $12. Sun, 8pm: "Theatresports Ring Tournament," team improv competition, $6.

Cafe do Brasil 1106 Market; 487-0581. Sat, 8pm: "Brasilian Bon Voyage Comedy Benefit," party and performance for comedian Corinne Petteys, $10-15.

Galia 2565 Mission; 970-7777. Mon, 8pm: "An Evening of Naked Comedy in Clothed Bodies," open mic and featured comics, $3-5.

Rasselas 1534 Fillmore; 921-2051. Mon, 9pm: "All Black Comedy Showcase," with Yayne Abeba, Tony Sparks, and others, free.

San Francisco LGBT Community Center Ceremonial Room, 1800 Market; 552-7200. Mon, 8pm: "Qcomedy Showcase: Monday Night Gay Comedy," with host Julia Jackson, $5-15.

Spanganga 3376 19th St; 821-1102. Thurs, 10pm: "Spiegelmania," stand-up comedy show hosted by Mike Spiegelman, with Al Madrigal , $5.

spoken word

Open mics take place almost every night in cafés throughout the Bay Area. If you want to perform, show up about half an hour before start time to put your name on the list. A day-by-day guide to word events and featured readers:

Wednesday: Cody's Books 2454 Telegraph, Berk; (510) 845-7852. "Poetry Flash," with Laure-Anne Bosselaar, Kurt Brown, and Sandy Diamond, 7:30pm, $2. Starry Plough 3101 Shattuck; (510) 841-2082. "The Berkeley Slam!," hosted by Charles Ellik and dani eurynome, 8pm, $7. Brainwash 1122 Folsom; 864-3842. "Spoken Word Salon," open mic with featured reader Joke Kaviaar and host Diamond Dave Whitaker, 8pm, free.

Thursday: Dalva 3121 16th St; 647-6542. "Poetry Mission," with host Harvey and open mic, 7pm, free. 26 Mix 3024 Mission; theboredcollective@hotmail.com. "The Bored Collective" spoken word and music from the dance music scene, 9pm, $5. Unitarian Center 1187 Franklin; 338-2227. Kazuko Shiraishi and Wadada Leo Smith read poetry, 7:30pm, $7. Blue Books New College of California, 766 Valencia; 236-1233. Poetry reading and birthday party with readers Sean Hansen and Brendan T. Leathem, 7:30pm, free.

Friday: Yakety Yak Coffee House 679 Sutter; 285-2951. Open mic with featured reader Carl Wiener, 7:30pm, free. Rosenberg Library Rm 305, City College of San Francisco, 50 Phelan; 239-3580. Michael McClure reads poetry, 11am, free.

Saturday: Coffee with a Beat 458 Perkins, Oakl; (510) 526-5985. "Word Beat Reading Series," with "Fresh Ink" writers, plus open mic, 7-9pm, free. Rhythm and Muse Berkeley Art Center, 1275 Walnut, Berk; (510) 527-9753. "Rhythm and Muse," open mic series with featured performers Genny Lim and Lisa Moskow (event sponsored by Poets and Writers, Inc. through a grant from the James Irvine Foundation), 7pm, free. Oakland Public Library Main Branch, West Auditorium, 125 14th St, Oakl; (510) 238-4974. "Inside Open: Oakland Poets with an Opinion," featuring Paul Flores, Marc Bamuthi Joseph, and Marcel Diallo, 2pm, free.

Sunday: Cody's Books 2454 Telegraph, Berk; (510) 845-7852. "National Poetry Month Celebration and Reading," with Gerald Stern, Willis Barnstone, Kazuko Shiraishi, 3pm, $5. Bird and Beckett Books and Records 2278 Diamond; 586-3733. Poet Diane DiPrima reads, 4:30pm, free. Café Royale 800 Post; 255-9035, www.spokenworld.com. "Strictly Slam," hosted by Nazelah Jamison, Clare Lewis, and Karen Ladson and presented by the Living Word Project, 8pm, $6-10.

Monday: Berkeley Bakery and Café 1561 Solano, Berk; dreamboogie@yahoo.com. "Poetry Express" ("theme night: pet peeves"), open mic with host Mark States, 7pm, free. Notes from Underground Café 2399 Van Ness; 928-8904. "Celebration of the Word," with featured reader Tony Robles and host Jeanne Powell, 7pm, free.

Tuesday: Andalusia Café 1209 Sutter; 928-8904. "Word Dancing," open mic with hosts Leonard King and Jeanne Powell, 7-9pm, free. Wheeler Auditorium UC Berkeley, Telegraph at Bancroft, Berk; (510) 981-0467. "The Asians Are Coming: A Hardboiled Spoken Word Event," featuring Beau Sia, Dennis Kim, and Ishle Yi Park, 8pm, free.