July 17, 2002




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By Amanda Nowinski

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




Beyond Therapy Bulldog Theater, 965 Mission; 778-4050. $12-17. Opens Fri/19, 8pm. Runs Fri-Sat, 8pm. Through Aug 24. OneHeart Productions presents Christopher Durang's relationship comedy.

Stories by Tobias Wolff Magic Theatre, Fort Mason Center, Marina at Laguna; 437-6775. $25 (Wed, pay what you can). Previews Tues/23-Wed/24, 8:30pm. Opens Thurs/25, 8:30pm. Runs Tues-Sat, 8:30pm; Sun, 3pm. Through Aug 25. Word for Word stages three Wolff stories: In the Garden of the North American Martyrs, Lady's Dream, and Bullet in the Brain.

South Pacific Golden Gate Theatre, 1 Taylor; www.bestofbroadway-sf.com. Previews Tues/23, 8pm. Opens Wed/24, 2 and 8pm. Runs Wed-Sat, 8pm (also Wed and Sat, 2pm); Sun, 2pm. Through Aug 18. Robert Goulet stars in the classic Rodgers and Hammerstein musical.

The Vagina Monologues Geary Theatre, 415 Geary; 433-9500. $20-60. Opens Tues/23, 8pm. Runs Tues-Thurs, 8pm; Fri-Sat, 8:30pm (also Sat, 3pm); Sun, 3 and 7:30pm. Through Aug 11. Creator and original star Eve Ensler performs her play in San Francisco for the last time.

Bay Area

Be Aggressive Lucie Stern Theatre, 1305 Middlefield, Palo Alto; (650) 903-6000. $20-43. Previews Wed/17-Fri/19, 8pm. Opens Sat/20, 8pm. Runs Tues, 7:30pm (no show Aug 13); Wed-Sat, 8pm (also Sat/27 and Aug 3, 2pm); Sun, 2pm (no 2pm show Aug 4; also Sun/28, Aug 4, and 11, 7pm). Through Aug 18. TheatreWorks presents Annie Weisman's coming-of-age tale set in the cutthroat world of cheerleading.

Mata Hari Berkeley City Club, 2315 Durant, Berk; (510) 558-1381. $8-18. Previews Thurs/18, 8pm (free). Opens Fri/19, 8pm. Runs Fri-Sat, 8pm (also Sat, 5pm); Sun, 5pm (no show Sun/20). Through Aug 24. Central Works and Women in Time present an original work, developed by Central Works, that explores the life of the famous female spy.

Troilus and Cressida John Hinkel Park, Southampton between San Diego and Somerset, Berk; (510) 704-8210. Pay what you can. Previews Sat/21, 5pm. Opens Sat/27, 5pm. Runs Sat-Sun, 5pm. Through Sept 1. The Shotgun Players present Shakespeare's post-Trojan War tale.



American Buffalo Shelton Theater, 533 Sutter; 433-7875. $20 (Thurs, pay what you can). Thurs-Sun, 8pm. Through Sat/27. Three small-time crooks plan a robbery and philosophize on the nature of friendship in David Mamet's 1977 play. The action (if we can call a prolonged failure to do anything "action") takes place in a junk shop owned by Donny (Charles Brumm), where he and his buddy "Teach" (Richard Harder) plot to steal a valuable coin. Bobby (Joseph Silva), Donny's gofer, wants in on the action, but the two older men exclude him, half suspecting he might be trying to cheat them himself. Mistrust and self-protection clash against the need for approval ("Are you mad at me?" they each ask at least once) in Mamet's classic fractured dialogue. However, much of the emotional nuance is lost in this production because of a rather flat relationship between Donny and Bobby. Harder, on the other hand, is excellent as Teach (move over Dustin Hoffman) and really carries the play. (Shalson)

Augustine (Big Hysteria) Exit on Taylor, 227 Taylor; 999-8870, www.theshee.org. $15-20 (pay what you can Fri/12-Sat/13, Mon/29). Previews Wed/17 (benefit performance with post-play discussion), 8pm. Opens Thurs/18, 8pm. Runs Fri-Sat, Thurs/18, Mon/29, 8pm. Through Aug 17. The Shee Theatre presents the U.S. premiere of Anna Furse's play, based on the true tale of a woman plagued by hysteria in late 19th-century Paris.

The Ghost of Molly Malone Venue 9, 252 Ninth St; 289-2000. $12-15. Thurs-Sat, 8pm; Sun/28, 2pm. Through Aug 3. See "Molly's Folly," page 49.

Ladies and Gentlemen ... It's B Movie Night! Exit Theatre, 156 Eddy; 387-3163. $12-15. Fri-Sat, 8pm. Through Aug 17. Ironworkers Local 202 Theater Company presents four short plays inspired by low-budget genre films.

The Last of the Red-Hot Dadas Exit Cafe, 156 Eddy; 673-3847. $10. Fri, 8:30pm. Through Aug 9. Christine Augello performs as "the mother of Dada," Baroness Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven.

Of Mice and Men Actors Theatre of San Francisco, 533 Sutter; 296-9179. $15-20. Thurs-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 7pm. Through Aug 31. Actors Theatre of San Francisco presents the John Steinbeck classic.

Ripped from the News Magic Theatre, Fort Mason Center, Marina at Laguna; 441-8822. $10-37. Wed-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 2:30pm. Through Sun/28. True Fiction Magazine's new improv show is inspired by newspaper headlines and audience suggestions.

Roberto Zucco: A Portrait of a Serial Killer Theatre Rhinoceros, 2926 16th St; 861-5079. $12-20 (previews, pay what you can). Thurs-Sun, 8pm. Through Sun/28. Celebrated French playwright Bernard-Marie Koltès's last play before an early death from AIDS-related illness in 1989 explores the inherent violence of a human-made world devoid of love or liberty. Inspired by the true tale of Italian murderer Roberto Succo, Koltès's lyrical flight sets up sociopath Roberto Zucco (James S. Craft) as an ambiguous hero for our age: the last free man. In a series of short scenes, beginning with Zucco's escape from prison and shimmering with literary and pop-cultural allusions, the outlaw killer alternately menaces and ministers to characters confined to the larger prison house of the law-abiding. Koltès embeds the play's violence in the language and relationships of everyday life as much as in Zucco's brutal egoism, lending the fugitive's most brutal acts a dimension of mercy while complicating our idea of victimhood. Cutting Ball artistic director Rob Melrose's staging, and a sinister light and sound design, make for some memorable images. Royston Coppenger's translation, however, tends to blunt Koltès's violently incandescent prose, while too-earnest renderings of some scenes mute his nihilistic poeticism and absurdist humor. The uneven cast hits the mark more than once but rises inconsistently to proper pitch. (Avila)

*'Russell Simmons Def Poetry Jam' Theatre on the Square, 450 Post; 433-9500. $25-40. Tues-Thurs, 8pm; Fri-Sat, 7 and 10pm; Sun, 5pm. Through Sun/28. Following on the heels of the HBO series Russell Simmons Presents Def Poetry, this evening of performance poetry features nine rising stars of the slam poetry scene. Among them are Steve Colman, with his scathing sociopolitical commentary, and Mayda del Valle, Black Ice, Georgia Me, and Suheir Hammad, who speak eloquently to issues facing Americans of Latin, African American, and Palestinian descent, to name a few. The evening rocks with energy and passionate intensity, and it's inspiring to see young people tackling major social ills with artful, uncompromising language and Whitmanesque fervor. (Rosenstein)

*San Francisco Mime Troupe's 'Mr. Smith Goes to Obscuristan' (415) 285-1717, www.sfmt.org. Free. No shows this week. Upcoming: Sat/27, 2pm, Glen Park, Bosworth and Elk; Sun/28, Yerba Buena Gardens, 700 Howard. Through Sept 2; check Web site for full schedule. Since it is known for its political lampoons of current events, it's not surprising that the San Francisco Mime Troupe has chosen Sept. 11 and its aftermath for a target this year. Written by Josh Kornbluth (Haiku Tunnel) in collaboration with the troupe, Mr. Smith is a smart and humorous look at what happens to democratic ideals when profits are at stake. Obscuristan is a tiny desert nation that is so "dirt poor" it has to import sand. Jeff Smith is a Sept. 11 firefighter who's been sent to supervise the country's first democratic elections. However, it turns out that the elections are fixed ("Only an American could mistake a fixed election for a real one," candidate Ralif Nadir quips) and that the United States is supporting the corrupt government in order to gain control of Obscuristan's oil resources. On opening weekend the performance fell short of the troupe's usual polish, but there are plenty of much needed laughs and at least a few moments (Ed Holmes as Barbara Bush!) approaching brilliance. (Shalson)

Sleeping with Straight Men Theatre Rhinoceros Studio, 2926 16th St; 861-5079. $20-25. Extended run: Fri, 8:30pm; Sat, 6 and 9pm; Sun, 3:30 and 7:30pm. Through Sun/28. Great Scott Productions presents Ronnie Larsen's new play, based on the true tale of a gay man who is murdered after revealing his crush on a straight man on a television talk show; Mink Stole, Dan Renzi (of MTV's Real World: Miami), and Sister Roma (of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence) star.

The Stone Trilogy A Traveling Jewish Theatre, 470 Florida; 820-1460. $7-20. Fri-Sat, Aug 1, 8pm; Sun/28, 2pm. Through Aug 3. Three one-acts by local playwright Ian Walker explore oppression and forgiveness. Topics include the conflict in Ireland, apartheid in South Africa, and hate crimes against homosexuals, and the pieces interconnect in their depiction of lives destroyed by racism and hatred. The variety of locales gives the actors the chance to show off their versatility, and those who appear in all three plays rise to the occasion. Walker manages to bring out the complexities of his topics and avoids the overarching generalities that might easily come from lumping such disparate events together. However, the stories tend to be overdrawn, with all three ending in violent tragedy. By the time one of the characters bursts onto the scene, revolver in hand, for the third time, one feels either utterly defeated or apt to call it melodrama. It's a thought-provoking and ambitious work, but at three hours, the evening runs long. (Shalson)

'Summer Shorts: Days and Nights' Exit Stage Left, 156 Eddy; 863-7707, www.ticketweb.com. $10-20. Fri-Sat, 8pm. Through Aug 17. Isis Arts Collective presents an evening of short plays, including five world premieres by Bay Area writers and three lesser-known works by Christopher Durang and Wendy Wasserstein.

Summer's Eve Bindlestiff Studio, 185 Sixth St; 974-1167. $12-15. Thurs/18-Sat/20, 8pm. The Bindlestiff Pinay Collective presents a show that uses comedy, puppets, movement, and other techniques to expose what it's like to grow up Pinay in the United States.

We're Going down the Pub Edinburgh Castle Pub, 950 Geary; 885-4074. $10. Thurs-Sat, 8pm. Through Aug 3. The Edinburgh Castle Pub hosts a live, multimedia comedy show about pub life.

Bay Area

Antony and Cleopatra La Val's Subterranean Theatre, 1834 Euclid, Berk; (510) 234-6046. $10-14. Thurs/18-Sat/20, 8pm. The endlessly playful and aggrandizing Cleopatra (Pamela Wylie) and the waning Roman titan Antony (Stanley Spenger) make quite a pair. Their romance is as political as it is sexual, or rather, it takes the politics of sex to new heights. In Subterranean Shakespeare's production, uneven casting, director Joy Meads's shuffling pace, and the formidable exigencies of the play itself (including its length and innumerable scene changes) can make the action feel disjointed and wearying. But while often falling short, it attains some worthy moments. Spenger displays significant authority and pathos as Antony, and Wylie's mischievous queen basks in the play's sizable comic aspects. (Avila)

Benefactors Aurora Theatre, 2081 Addison, Berk; (510) 843-4822. $26-35. Opens Thurs/18, 8pm. Runs Wed-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 2 and 7pm. Through Aug 18. Aurora Theatre Company closes its 10th season with Michael Frayn's tale of two couples over 15 years.

A Chorus Line Kofman Auditorium, 2200 Central, Alameda; (510) 864-2256, www.aclo.com. $14-22. Fri-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 2pm. Through Sun/28. Alameda Civic Light Opera performs the popular musical.

Cloud Nine Roda Theatre, 2015 Addison, Berk; (510) 647-2949. $10-54. Tues and Thurs-Sat, 8pm (also Thurs/18 and Sat/27, 2pm); Wed and Sun, 7pm (also Sun, 2pm). Through Sun/28. You'd think anything by Caryl Churchill – particularly this feast of social satire bridging the British-dominated Africa of 1880 and the London of 1980 – would be a natural for the Berkeley Repertory Theatre's Tony Taccone, who's been on a roll lately. Instead the director plays the evening mostly for laughs, skimming lightly over the piece's lyricism and depth. It's easy – and misguided – to dismiss Cloud Nine as dated. At its premiere 20 years ago, Cloud Nine was a stunning reflection on the personal cost of Britain's imperialism and its hypocritical Victorian morality. The play's fluid vision of unbridled sexuality seemed liberating then, only to mark the script as an apparent period piece in ensuing years. But today what comes through most potently is not the sex or the politics but the hilarious and painful choices the play's parents and children and lovers (and by extension, governments and citizens and generations) make in dealing with one another. (Rosenstein)

The Heidi Chronicles Live Oak Theatre, 1301 Shattuck, Berk; (510) 528-5620. $10. Fri-Sat and Aug 8, 8pm. Through Aug 10. Actors Ensemble of Berkeley completes its 45th season with a performance of Wendy Wasserstein's Pulitzer-winning play.

Macbeth Bruns Memorial Amphitheater, Gateway Blvd exit off Hwy 24, Orinda; (510) 548-9666, www.calshakes.org. $13-46. Tues-Thurs, 7:30pm; Fri-Sat, 8pm (also Sat, 2pm); Sun, 4pm. Through Sun/28. See "Molly's Folly," page 49.

Measure for Measure Highway One at Calle del Mar, Stinson Beach; (415) 868-1115, www.shakespeareatstinson.org. $13-23. Fri-Sat, 7pm; Sun, 6pm. Through Aug 18. Shakespeare at Stinson presents Shakespeare's comedy about hypocrisy.

Pericles, Prince of Tyre Live Oak Park, Berryman between Shattuck and Walnut; (415) 567-1758, www.womanswill.org. Free. At this location Sat/20-Sun/21, 1pm (also Sun/21, 8pm, Marin Art and Garden Center, the Barn, 30 Sir Francis Drake Blvd, Ross). Through Aug 18; check Web site for full schedule. Woman's Will presents an all-female take on Shakespeare's romance.

A Thousand and One Arabian Nights Forest Meadows Amphitheatre, Grand Ave, Dominican University, San Rafael; (415) 499-4488. $12-22. Sun/21, Fri/26, Sun/28, Aug 3-4, Aug 10-11, 16, 18, 24-25, 8pm (also Sun/14, Aug 4, 11 4pm). Through Aug 25. The Marin Shakespeare Company presents a world premiere adaption of the classic tale.

The Winter's Tale Amador Community Park, near Santa Rita and Black, Pleasanton; www.sfshakes.org. Free. Fri-Sun, 7:30pm. At this location through Aug 4. The San Francisco Shakespeare Festival celebrates 20 years of Free Shakespeare in the Park with a performance of the Bard's tale of jealousy and forgiveness.



San Francisco Ballet Sigmund Stern Grove, 19th Ave at Sloat; 252-6252, www.sterngrove.org. Sun, 2pm. Free. See 8 Days a Week, page 56.

'West Wave Dance Festival 2002' Cowell Theater, Fort Mason Center, Marina at Laguna; 345-7575. This week: Program Three, Thurs-Fri, 8pm; Program Four, Sat-Sun, 8pm. Festival runs through Sun/28; check www.voiceofdance.org for performance schedule. $18-20. See Critic's Choice.



'Closer' Thick House, 1695 18th St; 401-8081. Thurs-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 7pm. $10-15. The Loud Muse performs Patrick Marber's play about modern relationships.

'Darkness' Blue Bear Theater, Fort Mason Center, Marina at Laguna; 626-4603. Fri, 7:30pm. $5. The Playwrights' Center of San Francisco hosts a staged reading of a new play by local writer Vonn Scott Blair.

'15 Strings of Cash' ODC Theater, 3153 17th St; 863-9834. Wed-Sat, 8pm. $20. See 8 Days a Week, page 56.

'Fourth Annual DykeDrama Festival: Short Plays By and About Dykes' Luna Sea Theater, 2940 16th St; 863-2989, www.lunasea.org. Part One: Fri-Sat, 8pm through Sat/27; Part Two: Aug 2-3 and 9-10, 8pm. $11-14. Part One features Fat Fuck, by Sondra Solovay and Timnah Steinman; My Sister Myself, by Robyn Brooks; KVCH Radio, by Aishe Berger; and Tying the Knot, by Claudia L. Vierra Allen.

'In the Wake of Gold' and 'Jack London at Sea' Aboard the Balclutha, Hyde St Pier; 561-7100. In the Wake of Gold: Sat, noon and 1pm; Jack London at Sea: Sun, noon and 1pm. $2-6. The historic Balclutha hosts two plays performed by Live Oakes Educational Theatre.

The Lamplighters Yerba Buena Gardens, 700 Howard; www.ybgf.org. Fri, 12:30pm. Through Fri/26. Free. San Francisco's resident Gilbert and Sullivan company performs excerpts from The Pirates of Penzance and other musicals as part of the 2002 Yerba Buena Gardens Festival.

'Piece of You' Jon Sims Center for the Arts, 1519 Mission; 846-2175. Fri-Sun, 8pm. $10. Zutiste Productions presents S.M. Peters's play about a 1955 meeting between a rising young actor and an aging heiress.

'Porch Light, a Storytelling Series' Hemlock Tavern, 1131 Polk; 551-1492. Tues, 8pm. $8. The theme for the inaugural event of this series is "The One That Got Away"; contributors include Shar Rednour, Joe Loya, Matt Gonzales, Jane Ganahl, Steve Hutchinson, and Nate Denver.

'Rose' Palace of Fine Arts Theater, 3301 Lyon; 392-4400. Sat, 8pm; Sun, 7pm. $25-50. Academy Award winner Olympia Dukakis performs Martin Sherman's solo play about the long, eventful life of a Jewish woman who survives the Holocaust and moves to America.

'Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?' SomArts Cultural Center, 934 Brannan; 1-866-468-3399. Fri-Sat, 7:30pm; Sun, 2:30pm. Through Sat/27. $15-30. This benefit performance of Edward Albee's play is presented by the Caring-A-Ton Fundraisers and the National Association for Transplants.

'Xeno' Xenodrome, 1320 Potrero; 282-XENO. Thurs, 8pm; Fri-Sat, 9pm; Sun, 2pm. Through Sat/27. $3-25. This performance combines theater, aerial dance, acrobatics, video, and sound.

Bay Area

'Guys 'R Dolls' Glenview Performing Arts Center, 1318 Glenfield, Oakl; (510) 551-9785. Sat, 8pm; Sun, 3pm. Ongoing. $39.95. A cast of drag divas performs, led by emcee Brian Keith.

Alix Olson, Doria Roberts, Thea Hillman 21 Grand, 449B 23rd St, Oakl; (510) 444-7263, www.21grand.org. Sat, 9pm. $6-12 sliding scale. Folksinger-songwriter Roberts and authors and spoken word artists Olson and Hillman perform



Blue Bear Theater Fort Mason Center, Marina at Laguna; 885-5678. Sat, 8:30pm: "Flash Family," improv comedy, $7-14. Through Aug 10.

BrainWash Café 1122 Folsom; 861-FOOD. Thurs, 8pm: Tony Sparks hosts comedy open mic, free. Fri, 8:30pm: All-women comedy open mic hosted by Aundré the Wonderwoman, free.

Java Source 343 Clement; 387-8025. Fri, 10:30pm: Greg Jones and Tony Sparks host comedy open mic, free.

Luggage Store 1007 Market; 255-5971. Tues, 8pm: comedy open mic with host Tony Sparks, free.

Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts 2868 Mission; 821-1155. Fri, 7:30pm: "ĦQue Locos!," comedy with Bill Santiago, $8-10.

New Pisa 550 Green; 207-0285, www.northbeachimprov.com. Fri, 9pm: "North Beach Improv," with host Uncle Vinny Rizzo, $10.

San Francisco LGBT Community Center 1800 Market; 865-5633. Mon, 8pm: "Monday Night Gay Comedy," with host Nick Leonard, $8-15.

Sea Biscuit 3815 Noriega; 661-3784. Comedy open mic with hosts Tom Smith and Tony Sparks, 8pm, free.

Sweetie's Café and Bar 475 Francisco; 820-3237. Sat, 8pm: "Too Many Larrys!," sketch comedy, free.

Venue 9 252 Ninth St; 820-3947. Sun, 8pm: "Seven Sins," comedy and solo performance, $10-15. Through Aug 4.

Bay Area

Black Box 1928 Telegraph, Oakl; (510) 595-5597. Thurs, 8pm: The Oakland Playhouse improv troupe performs improv comedy, $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 Hannah Stein and Kevin Clark, 7:30pm, $2. La Peña Cultural Center La Peña Cultural Center, 3105 Shattuck, Berk; (510) 849-2566. Café Poetry featuring Leroy Moore, 7:30pm, $3-5. Mama Bears Women's Bookstore 6536 Telegraph, Oakl; (510) 506-3717. "SheSpeaks," open mic night for women 18 and over, 7:30pm, $5. Starry Plough 3101 Shattuck, Berk; (510) 841-2082. "The Berkeley Slam!," with hosts Charles Ellik and dani eurynome, 8pm, $7. BrainWash Cafe 1122 Folsom; 864-3842. "Spoken Word Salon," open mic with host Diamond Dave Whitaker, 8pm, free.

Thursday: Café 1428 1428 Alice, Oakl; (510) 239-2239, ext 2899. "Poet Skool," open mic with host Paradise, 7pm, donations accepted.

Friday: Modern Times Bookstore 888 Valencia; www.laborfest.net. "Poetry, Words, and War," sponsored by LaborFest, 7:30pm, free. AK Warehouse 674-A 23rd St; (510) 208-1700, www.akpress.org. Reading featuring contributors to Speak These Words: A Guerilla Poets Anthology, 7pm, call for price.

Monday: Perry's Joint 1661 Fillmore; 931-5260. "Celebration of the Word," with Rita Flores Bogaert, Adam David Miller, and host Jeanne Powell, 7pm, free. Rasselas Jazz 1534 Fillmore; 346-8696. Open mic for instrumentalists, singers, and poets, featuring the Dee Spencer Trio, 8pm, free.

Tuesday: The Beanery 2925 College, Oakl; (510) 549-9093. "The Whole Note Poetry Series" with Marianna Robinson, Toby Kaplan, and host Jesse Beagle, plus open mic, 7pm, free. Falkirk Cultural Center 1408 Mission, San Rafael; (415) 485-3328. "Marin Poetry Center Summer Traveling Show 2002," with host Phyllis Teplitz, 7pm, free.