Theater

Save the San Francisco Mime Troupe's summer season!

|
()

All the world may be a stage, but as San Francisco Mime Troupe fans are finding out, it’s not a free one.

Even as we gleefully contemplate a Fleet Week sans Blue Angels, truly the silver lining of sequestration, the news that the San Francisco Mime Troupe is facing an immediate financial crisis reminds us of its downsides as well. After several anticipated grants failed to be awarded to the acclaimed theatrical collective, including one from longtime funders the National Endowment for the Arts, the Mime Troupe announced that it needs to raise $40,000 by the end of April in order to mount its summer tour of a show about natural resources and climate change tentatively entitled Oil and Water.

Read more »

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

|
()

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.

Read more »

Good grief

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

|
()

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 »

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

|
()

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.

Read more »

The Performant: Playing in the Sandbox

|
()

SF Playhouse’s Sandbox Series puts play back into playwriting

It’s getting harder each year to determine when exactly the “off-season” is in terms of things to do in the City, considering that this past, random weekend in February alone saw collisions of three major festivals -- SF Sketchfest, SF Indie Fest, and SF Beer Week -- on top of all the usual openings and closings and goings on. In fact, it’s been so hectic (albeit muy divertido) that the Performant is going to break protocol and look ahead to an event lingering just on the horizon, to ensure it doesn’t get lost in the onslaught of events to come.

Founded in 2010, SF Playhouse’s Sandbox Series is a play series (beginning Feb. 27) that inhabits a region somewhere between staged reading and full production -- offering new plays a full run and technical support, without breaking the bank on design and promotion.

Read more »

Missing person

'Se Llama Cristina' offers a sentimental story beneath a gritty exterior

|
()

arts@sfbg.com

THEATER A filthy, forlorn world emerges in surreal half-light at the outset of Magic Theater's premiere of Se Llama Cristina, the new play by celebrated San Francisco–based playwright Octavio Solis. But almost as quickly, its initially intriguing outlines begin to look artificial, becoming the bloated lines of caricature more than a poetical evocation of real life, as the sentiment at the heart of this sometimes forceful but finally thin and frustrating play steadily takes over.Read more »

The shape of stage to come, part two

|
()

Training with foolsFURY for the stage and for life

A couple of weeks ago I wrote a round-up of some of the theatre companies in the Bay Area who offer classes and actor trainings for professionals and non-professionals alike, but since there are far more companies than I had word count with which to cover them, I could only feature a representative few, and therefore focused mainly on smaller, more underground companies specializing in one or two specific disciplines or techniques.

One company I regretted not having space for was foolsFURY, whose devotion to training their own actors has given rise to an extensive schedule of workshops open to the public since 2006. I finally caught up with associate artistic director Debórah Eliezer to get the details.

Read more »

Festival of festivals

Some highlights from New York's APAP-pourri

|
()

arts@sfbg.com

THEATER The chill air had no snow in it. Instead, a particularly nasty outbreak of influenza whipped through the city, leaving a fine coating of mucus on the ground. Still, New York City looked beautiful as the various performing arts festivals that cluster around the annual meeting of APAP (the Association of Performing Arts Presenters) all revved up for a fat two weeks of shows this January.Read more »

SF Sketchfest founders reminisce (and look ahead) on the eve of their 12th event

|
()

The first SF Sketchfest, in 2002, was a good excuse to find a stage and some quality time for its organizers’ own sketch comedy troupe, Totally False People, but it has since become an annual comedy conclave of the first order. SF Sketchfest founders David Owen, Cole Stratton, and Janet Varney talk about the growth and philosophy of their annual comedy extravaganza and the humble beginnings that gave it rise.

San Francisco Bay Guardian Is SF Sketchfest a full time job by now?

David Owen Yeah, I think it is. It definitely gets more intense a few months out, but we’re always working on it, we’re always percolating ideas, as well as trying to do events throughout the year. We had a presence at Outside Lands this past year. We’re always trying to do stuff. But this time of year especially, from fall on, is beyond full-time for us.

Read more »