Robert Avila

Class act

Thomas Bradshaw's 'The Bereaved' sends-up the breakdown of the American middle-class

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Words, words, words permeate a couple of unconventional theater options this weekend

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The scattered letters piled on the floor are alternately a lover, a tormentor, a terrible reminder, a set of mysterious directives, and a bed for restless dreaming for Ophelia — or rather, one of her three incarnations — as French company Carte Blanche presents its roaming, site-specific riff on Shakespeare’s sad heroine, with inspiration drawn from Arthur Rimbaud’s famous elegy.
 
But despite all those missives from a certain gloomy prince, the piece makes much use of silence too, as the audience mills around the Firehouse at Fort Mason Center, watching the agitated actions of three young heroines in various rooms before being led outside for a journey to other environs.

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Good grief

Julie Marie Myatt recasts 1970s nostalgia for our own bleak times in 'The Happy Ones'

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arts@sfbg.com

THEATER "Oh, this stupid war. I don't know who to blame anymore, do you?"

So asks aging American divorcée Mary-Ellen (Marcia Pizzo), in 1975 Southern California, of Vietnamese war refugee Bao (Jomar Tagatac), who has lost his entire family back home. It's a fraught question that, maybe fittingly, receives no answer. But it's made all the more complicated and troubling in the Magic Theatre production of Julie Marie Myatt's 2009 comedy-drama, The Happy Ones.Read more »

Bow down to the robo-proletariat!

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Radically refashioning a host of reactionary fashions, La Pocha Nostra Live Art Laboratory puts all borders up for grabs. The international performance art troupe returns to San Francisco Sat/30 for the US premiere of La Pocha Nostra’s latest creation, Corpo Insurrecto 3.0: The Robo-Proletariat.
 
A performance project by Guillermo Gómez-Peña, Roberto Sifuentes, and Erica Mott (with LPN associates Brittany Chavez, Rico Martin, Marcos Nájera, Esther Baker Tarpaga, and Allison Wyper), Corpo Insurrecto 3.0: The Robo-Proletariat asks the time-old question: What might you discover at the intersection of “an aging deviant shaman, a Neo-Aztec priest making romantic religious tableaux with a goat, a flamenco drag king, and an Oil Spill Madonna”?

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Fallacis and fallacies

Lawrence Wright's new play falls flat at Berkeley Rep

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arts@sfbg.com

THEATER Speaking of oneself in the third person is a thing few figures outside of fiction can really pull off. Tarzan and Yoda, fine. Oriana Fallaci — well, in journalist-playwright Lawrence Wright's new two-hander, Fallaci, you could be forgiven for thinking the title character is not that real either.Read more »

Triggers

George F. Walker's caustic comedy 'Dead Metaphor' brings it all back home

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Spring into arts

Guardian writers select the season's most-anticipated performances, exhibits, film events, and more

It's true that San Francisco doesn't really have seasons, per se. We don't have a snow thaw, or a sudden riot of cherry blossoms, or even a perceptible change in the weather to mark calendar shifts. So grab that lightweight jacket you've been wearing since October, and use our selective guide to what music shows to see (dude ... Sparks is coming!), gallery and museum shows to hit up, films to catch, and can't-miss theater and dance performances — including, yep, a fresh take on The Rite of Spring.Read more »

Whereabouts of W. Kamau Bell: a Q&A

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Q Hey, whatever happened to W. Kamau Bell?
 
A Pretty sure the politically astute Bay Area comedian, writer, and director went on to fame in TV land as host of FX’s Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell.*
 
*True, but he’s back this weekend for two late-night sets at Stage Werx.

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Angels in Budapest

Hungary's premier stage offers a striking revival of Tony Kushner's groundbreaking play

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arts@sfbg.com

THEATER On two old VHS tapes in the collection of San Francisco's Museum of Performance and Design you can watch the Eureka Theater's 1991 world premiere of Tony Kushner's Angels in America, a response to the AIDS epidemic and the reactionary politics of the Reagan era. It's a low-fi document, with poor sound quality, but it's completely riveting. Something more than the play's words and images, as striking as they are, cling to that worn magnetic tape: there's the electric excitement of a work of art cracking open its historical moment.Read more »

Sort of and last

The Wooster Group and New York City Players make a long overdue Bay Area appearance

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arts@sfbg.com

THEATER In a deceptively low-key but major theatrical event, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts last weekend presented the local debuts of both the Wooster Group and the New York City Players, in their collaborative take on three of Eugene O'Neill's seafaring "Glencairn plays."Read more »