Stage Listings

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Stage listings are compiled by Guardian staff. Performance times may change; call venues to confirm. Reviewers are Robert Avila, Rita Felciano, and Nicole Gluckstern. Submit items for the listings at listings@sfbg.com. For further information on how to submit items for the listings, see Picks. For complete listings, see www.sfbg.com.

THEATER

OPENING

BAY AREA

Antony & Cleopatra Forest Meadows Ampitheatre, 1475 Grand, San Rafael; 499-4488, www.marinshakespeare.org. $20-35. Previews Fri/20-Sun/22, 8pm. Opens August 28, 8pm. Runs Fri-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 4pm. Through Sept 25. Marin Shakespeare Company's summer season continues with the tale of the Egyptian queen.

In the Wound John Hinkel Park, Berk; (510) 841-6500, www.shotgunplayers.org. $10 (no one turned away). Opens Sat/21, 3pm. Runs Sat-Sun, 3pm (also Sept 5, 3pm). Through Oct 3. Shotgun Players present a unique take on the Iliad, written and directed by ian tracy.

Macbeth Bruns Ampitheater, 100 California Shakespeare Way, Orinda; (510) 548-9666, www.calshakes.org. $34-70. Previews Wed/18-Fri/20, 8pm. Opens Sat/21, 8pm. Runs Fri-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 4pm (also Sept 11, 2pm). California Shakespeare Theater presents the tale of unbridled ambition and its consequences, directed by Joel Sass.

Trouble in Mind Aurora Theatre, 2081 Addison, Berk; (510) 843-4822, www.auroratheatre.org. $10-55. Previews Fri/20-Sat/21 and Tues/24, 8pm; Sun/22, 2pm. Opens August 26, 8pm. Run Wed-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 2 and 7pm; Tues, 7pm. Through Sept 26. Aurora Theatre presents Alice Childress' look at racism through the lens of theater.

 

ONGOING

Abigail: The Salem Witch Trials Temple SF, 540 Howard; www.templesf.com. $10. Thurs/19, August 26, 9pm. Through August 26. Buzz Productions, with Skycastle Music and Lunar Eclipse Records, presents an original rock opera based on the Salem witch trials.

Divalicious New Conservatory Theatre Center, 25 Van Ness; 861-8972, www.nctcsf.org. $22-28. Wed-Sat, 8 p.m.; Sun, 2pm. Through Sun/22. Leanne Borghesi takes on the music of legends ranging from Garland to Midler.

Don't Ask New Conservatory Theatre Center, 25 Van Ness; 861-8972; www.nctcsf.org. $24-36. Wed-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 2pm. Through Sept 19. New Conservatory Theatre Center presents the West Coast premiere of Bill Quigley's play about the affair between a Private and his superior.

Gilligan's Island: Live on Stage! The Garage, 975 Howard; (800) 838-3006, www.brownpapertickets.com. $15-20. Sun, 8pm. Through August 29. Moore Theatre and SAFEhouse for the Performing Arts brings the TV show to the stage, lovey.

Party of 2 Shelton Theater, 533 Sutter; (800) 838-3006, www.partyof2themusical.com. $25-29. Sun, 3pm. Through Sept 12. A new show written by Morris Bobrow.

Peter Pan Threesixty Theater, Ferry Park (on Embarcadero across from the Ferry Bldg); www.peterpantheshow.com. $30-125. Tues and Thurs, 7pm; Fri-Sat, 7:30pm (also Sat, 2pm); Wed, 2pm; Sun, 1 and 5pm. Through August 29. JM Barrie's tale is performed in a specially-built 360-degree CGI theater.

*Posibilidad, or Death of the Worker Dolores Park and other sites; 285-1717, www.sfmt.org. Free. Sat-Sun, 2pm; also Sept 6, 2pm; Sept 17, 8pm. Through Sept 17. It may have been just a coincidence, but it certainly seems auspicious that the San Francisco Mime Troupe, itself collectively run since the 1970's, would preview their latest show Posibilidad on the United Nations International Day of Cooperatives. The show, which centers around the struggles of the last remaining workers in a hemp clothing factory ("Peaceweavers"), hones in on the ideological divide between business conducted as usual, and the impulse to create a different system. Taking a clip from the Ari Lewis/Naomi Klein documentary The Take, half of the play is set in Argentina, where textile-worker Sophia (Lisa Hori-Garcia) becomes involved in a factory takeover for the first time. Her past experiences help inform her new co-workers' sitdown strike and takeover of their own factory after they are told it will close by their impossibly fey, new age boss Ernesto (Rotimi Agbabiaka). You don't need professional co-op experience to find humor in the nascent collective's endless rounds of meetings, wince at their struggles against capitalistic indoctrination, or cheer the rousing message of "Esta es Nuestra Lucha" passionately sung by Velina Brown, though in another welcome coincidence, the run of Posibilidad also coincides with the National Worker Cooperative conference being held in August, so if you get extra inspired, you can always try to join forces there. (Gluckstern)

Sex Tapes for Seniors Victoria Theatre, 2961 16th; (800) 838-3006. $20-40. Fri-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 2pm. Through Sun/22. Older people have sex. It's a revelation, incredibly, for the new, blandly do-goody yoga instructor (Erin Reis) at a retirement village called Shambhala Springs in the premiere of Mario Cossa's sweet, sassy, but somewhat sterile and long-winded new musical. It's maybe an eye-opener too for anyone in the audience too young to remember doing it in the Sixties—let alone in your sixties—and by eye-opener we mainly mean the ability to keep at least one eye open the entire show. Older audiences may find more to appreciate here. The odd cast of characters includes three couples—one straight (Charmaine Hitchcox and Terry Stokes), two gay (Phillipe Coquet and John Hutchinson; Rebecca Mills and Carolyn Zaremba), and a single widow (Nancy Helman Shneiderman) who dates but keeps another marriage at bay. (I promised myself I wouldn't use the word feisty, but she is, as are several of the others.) They come up with a plan to make and sell the titular product, much to the horror of relatives and some other residents. But the storyline has more do to with individual relationships and the challenges of aging gracefully and living well. Performances are uneven, entrances routinely late, but there's a built-in charm to that. Tyler Flanders' music, however, generally limps along (despite dutiful treatment by a three-piece band) and Cossa's lyrics only rarely stir. Although at least once all hell breaks loose: in the rousing, if not exactly arousing, number devoted to the fellatic benefits of dentures. Indeed, this play should probably have an NC-71 rating. (Avila)

*Show and Tell Thick House, 1695 18th St; (800) 838-3006, www.symmetrytheatre.com. Thurs-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 5:30 pm. Through Sun/22. $25. Symmetry Theatre Company, an impressive new group dedicated to addressing gender disparity in the casting of professional actors, makes a memorable debut with this expertly crafted, sinuous drama about the psychological aftermath—and tangled social roots—of a bombing in a small-town schoolroom from playwright (and former SF rez) Anthony Clarvoe (Control+Alt+Delete). The sole survivor of the horrific and mysterious attack is the stunned, deeply perplexed teacher (an affecting, quietly intense Chloe Bronzan), soon surrounded by grief-stricken parents demanding their childrens' remains and a tight-knit, jaded forensics team led by a gradually smitten FBI agent (a suavely imposing Robert Parsons). Julia Brothers, Wylie Herman, Jessica Powell, and Erika Salazar round out a strong ensemble under the assured direction of Laura Hope, whose engaging production leaves much to think about in the realm of private turmoil and public chaos—including the nature of grief, modernity's systemic violence, and the disorder generated and managed by the self-same state. Kate Boyd's lush, strikingly ambiguous video design (featuring a set of evocative childrens' drawings) and Cliff Caruthers' beautifully spare and haunted sound (featuring a delicate stream of child voices) add measurably to the expanse of the play's existential and political universe. (Avila)

Skin Tight CounterPULSE, 1310 Mission; www.counterpulse.org. $20 ($35 for gala opening). Thurs-Sat, 8pm. Through August 28. Rapid Descent Physical Performance Company presents the SF premiere of Gary Henderson's play.

*Streetcar Named Desire Boxcar Playhouse, 505 Natoma; 776-1747, www.boxcartheatre.org. $15-25. Wed-Sat, 8pm. Through Sept 4. It's no small feat, creating a sultry southern summer circa 1940's smack-dab in the middle of a typically frosty San Francisco summer circa right here right now, but Boxcar Theatre rises admirably to the challenge. Rebecca Longworth's creative staging of Tennessee Williams' "A Streetcar Named Desire" includes musical interludes, ghostly apparitions, and the clattering of a cleverly impersonated streetcar that shakes the walls of Matt McAdon's simply-detailed tenement flat and the spirits of one Blanche DuBois (Juliet Tanner), while the deliberately-muted lighting (Stephanie Buchner) and period-appropriate sound (Ted Crimy), add the appropriate layers of southern discomfort to the unfolding action. Especially captivating to watch are the performances of supporting characters Stella (Casi Maggio) and Mitch (Brian Jansen), who seem to almost helplessly orbit the hot flame of Stanley Kowalski's sun (Nick A. Olivero) and the grimly flickering satellite of Blanche's waning moon. As he does in "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof," Seth Thygesen stands in for one dearly-departed, in this case Blanche's old beau, Allan Gray, whose abrupt suicide de-magnetized her moral compass. And in addition to a saucy turn as next-door neighbor Eunice, Linnea George tracks the fractured emotions of the main characters on her mournful violin. (Nicole Gluckstern)

*This Is All I Need NOHspace, 2840 Mariposa; www.mugwumpin.org. Thurs-Sun, 8pm. Through Sept 4. $15-20. In our obsession with possessions, just who possesses who? Mugwumpin's inventive, hilarious and repeatedly surprising new work—captivated and captivating—reminds us that a possession isn't just a thing but also a (colonized) state of being. But there's no manifesto here, so much as a multifaceted, deftly staged exploration of a theme so central to this bare and incredibly cluttered existence that we hardly even notice it. The four person ensemble (Madeline H.D. Brown, Joe Estlack, Erin Mei-Ling Stuart, and Christopher W. White), sharply co-directed by Liz Lisle and Jonathan Spector, brings various states of being and relation to life with aplomb—amid swift transformations of time and place, provocative contrasts and parallels, dexterous vocalizations, and supple and satisfyingly offbeat choreography. I'm purposely leaving out the details of the vignettes and the sometimes-startling mise en scène because it's better that way. All you really need now is the price of a ticket. (Avila)

This World Is Good Phoenix Theater, 414 Mason; 913-7272, www.sleepwalkerstheatre.com. Thurs-Sat, 8pm. Through August 28. $18-24. The 1990s are giving way to a millennial moment of anti-climax known as Y2K, but the anxiety and dread are real, and the bloodiest century in human history looks poised to be outdone by the doom-drones of the next. Making at least academic sense of all that angst is Ally (Dina Percia), a brilliant young Latina writing her doctoral dissertation on Grunge and its landscape of youth alienation. Her best friend and occasional lover is a smitten young English prof (Damian Lanahan-Kalish), a dork with a degree and the pet name Scrotum Face. But as she delves into the world of ideas, Ally loses track of her family: single mother Emmy (Tessa Koning-Martinez) and, more tragically, talented but emotionally tortured younger brother Sam (Shoresh Alaudini), whose battered mind and compassionate heart craft a graphic story around a new "super hero" with no costume, no parallel identity, and indeed no special powers. When her family collapses, Ally reassembles the pieces from a new vantage, outside the ivory tower, where she makes art from a sort of crystalline "ordinariness" that complements her brother's all-too-ordinary super hero. This World Is Good is the opening gambit in a new trilogy by local playwright J.C. Lee called This World and After, all being presented by Sleepwalkers Theatre this season. Artistic director Tore Ingersoll-Thorp helms a competently acted production, which helps lend Lee's ambitious scope its tangible human proportions, though in truth the characters do not always feel fully drawn. There's a fine monologue from Sam, both chilling and exhilarating, but also a proclivity throughout for awkwardly poetical speeches over dialogue. Still, there's subtlety and real humor in the best parts, and enough here to want to see more. (Avila)

What Mama Said About Down There Our Little Theater, 287 Ellis; 820-3250, www.theatrebayarea.org. $15-25. Thurs-Sun, 8pm. Through August 28. Writer-performer-activist Sia Amma presents this largely political, a bit clinical, inherently sexual, and utterly unforgettable performance piece.

BAY AREA

Blithe Spirit Live Oak Theatre, 1301 Shattuck, Berk; (510) 649-5999, www.aeofberkely.org. $12-15. Fri-Sat, 8pm; also Thurs/19, 8pm. Through Sat/21. Actors Ensemble of Berkeley essays the eternal Noel Coward comedy, about a (naturally) Coward-esque writer (Stanley Spenger) who for the purposes of research and any passing amusement it may provide invites over a celebrated medium (an amusingly puffed-up Chris Macomber), only to have her inadvertently summon the ghost of his ex-wife (Erin J. Hoffman), who mischievously begins to drive a wedge between him and his new wife (Shannon Veon Kase). Director Hector Correa's not-always-fitting casting choices contribute to a drearily perfunctory tone at the outset, which makes the first scenes somewhat painful going. However, Spenger proves admirably dry and restrained in the lead, and things pick up measurably with the arrival of the titular ghost, played with playful, bounding energy and notable grace by Hoffman. (Avila)

*East 14th: True Tales of a Reluctant Player Marsh Berkeley, 2120 Allston, Berk; www.themarsh.org. $20-50. Dates and times vary. Through Sept 12. Don Reed's solo play, making its Oakland debut after an acclaimed New York run, is truly a welcome homecoming twice over. (Avila)

*Machiavelli's The Prince Berkeley City Club, 2315 Durant, Berk; (510) 558-1381, www.centralworks.org. $14-25. Thurs-Sat, 8 p.m.; Sun, 5pm. Through Sun/22. Set in an intimate salon-space in the Berkeley City Club, this stage adaptation of one of the most famous documents on political power ever written gains a certain conversational quality. In fact, the script, penned by Gary Graves, is really just one long conversation—an imagined encounter between Nicolo Machiavelli and the man he dedicated his treatise to, Lorenzo de Medici II. Machiavelli (Mark Farrell) has been called by de Medici (Cole Alexander Smith) to possibly regain favor in his court after a long banishment. With him he brings a notebook of his musings on gaining and retaining political power, which he bestows on Lorenzo for him to read. As the Duke of Florence, Smith plays his character with the measured dignity and watchful countenance of a career mobster. He protests the extremism of his former teacher's philosophy of rule even as he is casually seduced by its implications. Farrell's Machiavelli tries to play his position with calculated Mephistopheles cool. However, he cannot escape the obvious taint of his own failures, and eventually, for all his talk of power, he is revealed to be ultimately powerless, though his ideas remain with de Medici, long after he himself is let go. (Gluckstern)

The Norman Conquests The Ashby Stage, 901 Ashby, Berk; (510) 841-6500, www.shotgunplayers.com. $20-25. Dates and times vary. Through Sept 5. Shotgun Players presents Alan Ayckbourn's comic trilogy.

The Taming of the Shrew Forest Meadows Amphitheatre, 1475 Grand, San Rafael; (415) 499-4488, www.marinshakespeare.org. $20-25. Fri-Sun, 8pm; also Sun, 4pm and 5pm. Through Sept 26. Marin Theatre Company presents a swashbuckling version of the classic.

PERFORMANCE/DANCE

Bay Area Rhythm Exchange War Memorial and Performing Arts Center, Herbst Theatre, 401 Van Ness; 392-4400, www.stepology.com. Fri/20-Sat/21, 8pm. $17-25. Bay Area Tap Festival artists perform.

"Disoriented" Stage Werx Theater, 533, Sutter; www.brownpapertickets.com. Thurs/19, 8pm, $20. A trio of solo performances by Zahra Noorbakhsh, Colleen "Coke" Nakamoto, and Thao P. Nguyen.

"House Special" ODC Dance Commons, 351 Shotwell; www.odctheater.com. Sat/21, 8pm, $15. New work by Pearl Ubungun, Jesseilto Bie, and others.

Landscape With the Fall of Icarus Climate Theater, 470 Florida; www.brownpapertickets.com. Fri/20-Sat/21, 8pm, $15. Samauel Topiary presents an evening-length performance work.

"Sinners and Salivation-Themed Drag King Contest" DNA Lounge, 375 11th; www.sfdragkingcontest.com. Fri/20, 8pm (band) and 10pm (show), $20-35. The 15th annual contest, with special guest Jane Wiedlin, benefiting PAWS.

BAY AREA

"New Works Festival" Lucie Stern Theatre, 1355 Middlefield, Palo Alto; (650) 463-1960, www.theatreworks.org. Dates and times vary. Through August 22. $15-25 ($75 for festival pass). TheatreWorks presents its ninth annual festival.