The Marsh hits the big two-oh this weekend. The one-of-a-kind theater founded by Stephanie Weisman in 1989 has contributed much more than its fair share to performance arts in the Bay Area and beyond. To mark the event, the Marsh is planning a one-of-a-kind celebration this Saturday, June 19: 12 continuous hours of performance, memories, and festive behavior featuring a remarkable assortment of talent under one roof. Seriously, if these were heads of state it’d be like the G20 times two, and the security hassles would suck hard for blocks around. As is, you can just go and watch and talk to these people, who are way cooler anyway.
For more of the lowdown on the birthday plans and insider thoughts on the Marsh at 20, I had thought of talking to a dozen or so of the leading lights slated to be there. But not having a lot of energy this morning, I decided instead to just call Mary Samson — currently crafting her own Marsh solo show and one of Saturday’s Marathon MCs — at her daytime desk at the Guardian.
A few months ago, Impact Theater premiered Enrique Urueta's Learn to Be Latina, a raucous satire of market-driven multiculturalism that pivoted on the ethnic dos-and-don'ts of the music industry. That production only partly prepares one for Crowded Fire's premiere of the Bay Area playwright's latest effort, Forever Never Comes. Read more »
I was just in Baltimore for a conference on the New Drama movement in Russia — not so much a movement, as it turns out, as a new and diverse post-Soviet generation of theater artists carrying forward, reassessing and reinventing the form. The work on display over an eventful weekend was quite varied and, on the whole, an intriguing sampling of the restive theatrical activity being generated under the New Drama label. The take-home point: Russia is a hotbed of serious work to which attention should be paid.Read more »
Thrillpeddlers peddle more Cockettes in Hot Greeks and SF Playhouse gets kinda Guignol with Slasher
On the principle that when you’ve got it you should really flaunt it, San Francisco’s Thrillpeddlers essay their second revival of a musical by the storied Cockettes. Hot Greeks, which premiered in midnight performances at the old Palace Theater in 1972, was the gleefully crazed cross-dressing troupe’s only other fully scripted musical besides, of course, Pearls Over Shanghai, which Thrillpeddlers revived to long-running fame almost a year ago and which will run in repertory with the limited-run Greeks.
While not the Oresteia or anything, Hot Greeks is more than an excuse for a lot of louche, libidinous hilarity. Okay, not much more. But it is a knowing little romp — supported by some infectious songs courtesy of Martin Worman (book and lyrics) and Richard “Scrumbly” Koldewyn (music and additional lyrics, and musical director-accompanist for the revival) — wedding trashy high school romance with the trashy ancient Greece of Aristophanes and the Peloponnesian War.
THEATER I don't know from reclaiming rituals, but when I saw the gangling guy in the deer mask and beige unitard prancing around the stage once more, I knew the vernal equinox could not be far behind. Herald of this new season is none other than writer-performer Dan Carbone, a long-cherished and uniquely committed Bay Area talent who remarkably has eluded actually being committed. Read more »
THEATER The white scrim separating the audience from the stage is an immediately impressive aspect of Marilee Talkington's solo autobiographical play, Truce, in which the American Conservatory Theater–trained actor, director, and writer recounts growing up and coming to terms with a rare congenital disease — cone-rod dystrophy — that has gradually been taking her eyesight from her. The milky white gossamer screen creates a permanent distance, a soft distortion, through which the play attempts communication, understanding, and empathy.Read more »
THEATER Leave it to a small and scrappy low-to-no-budget theater company to revive, at just the right time, Dario Fo's We Won't Pay! We Won't Pay! Fo, Italy's esteemed latter-day commedia dell'arte rabble-rouser — the first clown (who really is a clown) to win a Nobel Prize — crafted this gem in inspired response to another period of social-economic bullshit, the tumultuous mid-1970s, when Italy was suffering the brunt of the "stagflation" resulting from an oil-triggered worldwide downturn. Read more »