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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
How Lucky Can You Get? New Conservatory Theatre Center, 25 Van Ness; 861-8972, www.nctcsf.org. $20-28. Previews Thurs/26, 8pm. Opens Fri/27, 8pm. Runs Thurs-Sat, 8pm. Through Sept 11. Darlene Popovic sings Kander and Ebb under the direction of F. Allen Sawyer.
Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray Eureka Theatre, 215 Howard; 552-4100, www.TheRhino.org. $10-25. Previews Thurs/26-Sat/28, 8pm; Sun/29, 3pm. Opens Sept 1, 8pm. Runs Wed-Sat, 8pm (also Sept 5, Sept 12, and Sept 19, 3pm). Through Sept 19. John Fisher adapts the Oscar Wilde novel for the stage and directs the production.
Into the Woods 142 Throckmorton Theatre, 142 Throckmorton, Mill Valley; 383-9600, www.142throckmortontheatre.org. $14-30. Opens Fri/27, 7:30pm. Runs Fri-Sat, 7:30pm, Sun, 2pm. Through Sept. 4. Marin Youth Performers present James Lapine's and Stephen Sondheim's fractured fairy tale.
The Light in the Piazza TheatreWorks at the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts, 500 Castro, Mtn View; (650) 463-1960, www.theatreworks.org. $19-67. Previews Wed/25-Fri/27, 8pm. Opens Sat/28, 8pm. Runs Tues-Wed, 7:30pm, Thurs-Fri, 8pm; Sat, 2 and 8pm; Sun, 2 and 7pm. Through Sept 19. TheatreWorks presents Craig Lucas's tale of love under the Tuscan sun.
MilkMilkLemonade La Val's Subterranean, 1834 Euclid, Berk; www.impacttheatre.com. $10-20. Previews Thurs/26-Fri/27, 8pm. Opens Sat/28, 8pm. Runs Thurs-Sat, 8pm. Through Oct 2. Impact Theatre presents Joshua Conkel's off off Broadway about a lonely gay man trapped in a chicken farm.
Abigail: The Salem Witch Trials Temple SF, 540 Howard; www.templesf.com. $10. Fri/ 26, 9pm. Buzz Productions, with Skycastle Music and Lunar Eclipse Records, presents an original rock opera based on the Salem witch trials.
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.
The Glass Menagerie Boxcar Playhouse, 505 Natoma; 776-1747, www.boxcartheatre.org. $15-25. Fri/27 (also Sept. 2 and Sept. 3), 8pm. Through Sept 3. The third production in Boxcar Theatre's trio of Tennessee Williams plays in repertory is the biggest disappointment, not only because director Jessica Holt's production comes bloated distractingly by "shadow" versions of the principals and other random characters, but because it's the play that otherwise feels most apt and urgent. The "social background of the play," as narrator Tom (a generally credible Brian Trybom) describes it, is a landscape characterized by depression at home and revolution abroad, as pent-up American energies shuffle along through hangdog subsistence, shallow hedonism and occasional "labor unrest." This is the social projection of Tom's private quandary, but that's just how this partly autobiographical play speaks so eloquently and subtly to larger themes. When the unhelpful, enervating pantomiming and other stage business dies down a bit, you can see the principal rolesrounded out by Hannah Knapp as Tom's too fragile sister, Laura, and Suzan A. Kendall as his indomitable mother, Amandabreath more genuinely and the play actually take shape on the stage. The arrival of the Gentleman Caller (played with winning solidity by Boxcar's Nick A. Olivero) marks the best part of the evening, even if the gentleman arrives too late to fully redeem the proceeding hour's misconceived shenanigans. (Avila)
Gilligan's Island: Live on Stage! The Garage, 975 Howard; (800) 838-3006, www.brownpapertickets.com. $15-20. Sun/29, 8pm. 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 Sept 5. 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)
Skin Tight CounterPULSE, 1310 Mission; www.counterpulse.org. $20 ($35 for gala opening). Thurs-Sat, 8pm. Through August 28. Rapid Descent Physical Performance Company takes its debut bow with Gary Henderson's oblique portrait of a lifelong love affair, directed and choreographed by Megan Finlay. The couple, the vivacious Elizabeth (Beth Deitchman) and her gentle but quick-witted childhood sweetheart (and later war veteran) Tom (Nathaniel Justiniano) tumble, wrestle and entwine in playful lovemaking and painful heartache across a stage largely bare but for a bathtub set prominently upstage and center, and a white-clad trumpet player (composer-performer Aaron William Priskorn) who observes and accompanies them at close quarters throughout as an invisible muse or piece of mobile furniture. The acting is strong and committedDeitchman's sharp and vibrant Elizabeth balances well with the brawny Justiniano's slyly self-effacing Tom, and both are lithesome in the physically demanding stagingbut the dramatic content is thin and hampered by a sentimental storyline that feels precious rather than genuinely romantic or truthful. Moreover, the movement, central to the piece, remains fitfully effective and repetitious. But there's a promising intelligence at work throughout the production that makes Rapid Descent a welcome arrival. (Avila)
*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 workcaptivated and captivatingreminds 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 aplombamid 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 Sat/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.
Antony & Cleopatra Forest Meadows Ampitheatre, 1475 Grand, San Rafael; 499-4488, www.marinshakespeare.org. $20-35. Fri-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 4pm. Through Sept 25. Marin Shakespeare Company's summer season continues with the tale of the Egyptian queen.
*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)
In the Wound John Hinkel Park, Berk; (510) 841-6500, www.shotgunplayers.org. $10 (no one turned away). 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. Fri-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 4pm (also Sept 11, 2pm). Through Sept 12. Minneapolis's Joel Sass returns to Cal Shakes to direct Macbeth with a pared down cast of 12, lead by Jud Williford in the title role of the prophesy-driven regicidal social climber and Stacy Ross as his ambitious and then guilt-crazed Lady M. The towering, two-tiered set (by Daniel Ostling) is a suitably eerie, decrepit-looking place, a "murky hell" with a sort of Old World clinical sleaze about it. The three witches come gowned (by costumer Christal Weatherly) in dingy white nurses habits and sickly green surgical gloves with black voids where their faces should be (their spectral speech projected over the audio system). But Cal Shakes's production doesn't really measure up to the atmospheric mise-en-scene, being more dutiful than heat-generating. A wily cut-and-paste job with one of the more famous lines doesn't quite come off either, since it jars by its initial absence and then rings a bit self-consciously when it does surface as a downbeat coda. (Avila)
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.
Trouble in Mind Aurora Theatre, 2081 Addison, Berk; (510) 843-4822, www.auroratheatre.org. $10-55. 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.
"Buddy Club Children's Shows" Botanical Garden, 9th Ave and Lincoln; (510) 236-7649, www.TheBuddyClub.com. Sun/29, 11am-noon, $5-10. Robert Strong performs magic.
"New Choreography" The Garage, 975 Howard; 518-1517, www.975howard.com Fri/27-Sat/28, 8pm. SPF5 presents two nights of dance.
Penny Dreadful Project Studio Theatre, Creative Arts Bldg, San Francisco State University, 1600 Holloway; 338-2467, www.creativearts.sfsu.edu. Wed/25-Sat/28, 8:30pm; free. A dark tale about an unnamed woman and three versions of her son, directed and co-written (with Alex peri) by Mario El Caponi Mendoza.
"San Francisco Circus Center Showcase" San Francisco Circus Center, 755 Frederick; www.brownpapertickets.com. Fri/27, 7pm; Sat/28 2 and 7pm; Sun/29, 2pm; $10-20. The Circus Center presents its annual showcase.
Sci-Fi Burlesque DNA Lounge, 375 11th; www.superhappyfuntimeburlesque.com. Thurs/26, 9pm; $10-15. Six-person Michigan burlesque group puts on a show.