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 . For further information on how to submit items for the listings, see Picks. For complete listings, see www.sfbg.com .
The Busy World is Hushed New Conservatory Theatre Center, 25 Van ness; 861-8972, www.nctcsf,org . $24-40. Wed-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 2pm. Through May 1.New Conservatory Theatre Center presents the world premiere of a play by Keith Bunin.
*Caliente Pier 29, The Embarcadero; 438-2668, www.love.zinzanni.org . $117-145. Wed-Sat, 6pm; Sun, 5pm. Open-ended. Teatro Zinzanni presents a new production conceived in San Francisco.
*40 Pounds in 12 Weeks The Marsh, Studio Theater, 1074 Valencia; (800) 838-3006, www.themarsh.org . $15-35. Call for dates and times. Through April 30. Pidge Meade's one-woman show extends its successful run.
*Geezer Marsh, 1062 Valencia; (800) 838-3006, www.themarsh.org . $20-50. Thurs, 8pm; Sat, 5pm; Sun, 3pm. Through May 1. The Marsh presents a new solo show about aging and mortality by Geoff Hoyle.
It is not about pomegranates! Boxcar Playhouse, 505 Natoma; (510) 982-6311, www.darvag.org . $20. s-Sun, 8pm. Through Sun/10. "It's not about pomegranates," the exasperated playwright Atoosa (Ana Bayat King) tells dramaturge Sean (Richard Reinholdt), referring to the fact that her play about love doesn't deal directly with her purported cultural identity as a woman "between two worlds," Iran and the US. Any artist who has felt the pressure to play an easily marketable role can sympathize with her dilemma. As a woman from the Middle East ("middle of what," she demands to know), her story is a hot commodity, but only as it fits the preconceived notion of what her story should be. It's a premise worthy of exploration, but in Darvag Theatre's awkwardly-staged production, the exposition comes off as being more preachy than genuine, and the characters confined by the very stereotypes they are battling against. Indeed, though the lady doth protest, the play becomes very much about pomegranates as the broad assumptions the protagonists make about each other in the beginning of the play are little dispelled by their actions by the end. Sean is a rude American man, Atoosa a passionate enigma. There is some quiet humor that infuses the dialogue and the actors are a likable pair, but the piece itself feels underdeveloped and unresolved. (Nicole Gluckstern)
Lady Grey (in ever lower light) EXIT on Taylor, 277 Taylor; (800) 838-3006, www.brownpapertickets.com . $15-50. Thurs-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 5pm. Through Sun/10. Cutting Ball Theater presents the Bay Area premiere of three short plays by Will Eno.
Loveland The Marsh, 1062 Valencia; (800) 838-3006, www.themarsh.org . $20-35. Fri, 8pm; Sat, 8:30pm (also May 1 and 8, 7pm). Through May 8. Ann Rudolph's one-woman show continues its successful run.
M. Butterfly Gough Street Playhouse, 1620 Gough; (510) 207-5774, www.custommade.org . $20-28. Thurs-Sat, 8pm (also Sun/10, 7pm). Through April 16. Custom Made Theatre presents David Henry Hwang's award-winning play.
*Obscura: A Magic Play Exit Studio, 156 Eddy; 673-3847, www.sffringe.org . $20-25. Fri-Sat, 8pm. Through April 16. Christian Cagigal is back with the magical. Over the last several years, the popular Bay Area writer/performer has developed a series of dramatically structured magic shows (the most recent being the autobiographical Now and at the Hour), each a different attempt at blending expert prestidigitation with elements of narrative theater. Tightly focused and deliberately small-scale, Obscura is in some ways his most successful foray yet. In the Exit Theater's new studio space, Cagigal (with occasional help from his audience) unfolds a series of sly Gothic stories combined with extremely clever, sometimes dementedly playful card and coin tricks—the majority a collection of favorite pieces from other magicians—all played out on a delicately managed little table augmented by overhead projection (a set-up that offers various visual opportunities, including use of title cards). Rapid-fire narration (occasionally indistinct but generally articulate) and a laid back, slightly mischievous demeanor combine here with consummate skill in an intimate and very enjoyable evening of crafty little tales. If there's an overarching theme, it probably has something to do with human folly, the persistence of mystery, and the devil, but then any good fable involving a deck of cards probably should. (Avila)
*The Oldest Profession Brava Theater, 2781 24th St; 647-2822, www.brava.org . $10-25. Thurs-Fri, 8pm; Sat, 3 and 8pm. Through Sat/9. Brava Theater presents a play by Paula Vogel, directed by Evren Odcikin. Who says tricks are for kids? Five elderly women of the night (Linda Ayres-Frederick, Lee Brady, Tamar Cohn, Cec Levinson, Patricia Silver) converge by day at a park bench to swap stories, cavil, and defend their turf amid a changing world and one or two last hurrahs in Brava Theater's production of Paula Vogel's 1988 play about sex work, aging, and class solidarity. The subject matter is ripe, but the drama feels somewhat undeveloped. Although consciously set on the cusp of the Reagan era—an era culminating now in roiling confrontations everywhere you look—this fitfully amusing if generally well-acted and enjoyable feminist drama-cum-floorshow gives only a gentle political bite, preferring the tickle and caress of heartfelt comedy centered on the seeming incongruity of streetwise matrons. As the group dwindles, each final bow comes as a sexy and/or raunchy swan song—highlights of the evening—accompanied with Old New Orleans ambience by Angela Dwyer's jaunty upright piano. It's a bit like Cabaret meets Going in Style, and as directed by Evren Odcikin makes for a short but sweet ride. (Avila) Party of 2 — The New Mating Musical Shelton Theater, 533 Sutter; 1-800-838-3006, www.partyof2themusical.com . $27-29. Fri, 9pm. Open-ended. A musical about relationships by Shopping! The Musical author Morris Bobrow.
*Pearls Over Shanghai Thrillpeddlers' Hypnodrome, 575 Tenth St; 1-800-838-3006, www.brownpapertickets.com . $30-69. Sat, 8pm. Through Sat/9. Thrillpeddlers' acclaimed production of the Cockettes musical ends its successful run.
7 Sins...One More Time! EXIT Theatre, 156 Eddy; (800) 838-3006, www.brownpapertickets.com . $25-40. Fri-Sat, 8pm. Through Sun/10. James Judd's long-running comedy hit has a return engagement.
Secret Identity Crisis SF Playhouse, Stage 2, 533 Sutter; 869-5384, www.un-scripted.com . $10-20. Thurs-Sat, 8pm (no show may 7). Through May 14. Un-Scripted Theater Company presents a story about unmasked heroes.
Shopping! The Musical Shelton Theater, 533 Sutter; (800) 838-3006, www.shoppingthemusical.com . $27-29. Sat, 8pm. Open-ended. A musical comedy revue about shopping by Morris Bobrow.
A Streetcar Named Desire Actors Theatre, 855 Bush; 345-1287, www.actorstheatresf.org . $26-38. Wed-Sat, 8pm. Through May 28. Actors Theatre of San Francisco presents the Tennesse Williams tale.
Talking With Angels Royce Gallery, 2901 Mariposa; (800) 838-3006, www.brownpapertickets.com . $21-35. Thurs-Sat, 8pm. Through may 21. A play by Shelley Mitchell set in Nazi-occupied Hungary.
Twelfth Night African American Art & Culture Complex, 762 Fulton; (800) 838-3006, www.African-AmericanShakes.org . $15-35. Sat, 8pm; Sun, 3pm (no performance April 24). Through may 1. African-American Shakespeare Company presents a jazzy interpretation of the Bard.
*Wirehead SF Playhouse, 533 Sutter; 677-9596, www.sfplayhouse.org . $30-50. Tues-Wed, 7pm; Thurs-Fri, 8pm; Sat, 3and 8pm. Through April 23. Perfectionism's ruthless class dimensions come to the fore in SF Playhouse's smart, fun, and sharply staged Bay Area premiere about the super-smart posthumans of the near future, and the rest of us. A shady China-based conglomerate with a name that sounds like Sin-Tell sells a scintillating if dangerous procedure for those already well connected: a hardwire boost to the neural circuitry that gives the recipient more than an edge on the competition and something just shy of godlike powers. Two friends and colleagues in a banking firm (Craig Marker and Gabriel Marin) and their variously class-marked but equally ambitious girlfriends (Lauren Grace and Madeleine H.D. Brown) are all drawn into this cyborgian gold rush, and it gets sticky in more ways than one, as meanwhile a brash local DJ named RIP (Scott Coopwood) raps sardonically over the airwaves about this latest twist in an old game. SF Playhouse's Susi Damilano directs a charismatic cast (including a terrific Cole Alexander Smith in a related series of frenetic roles) in Matt Benjamin and Logan Brown's culture-jamming riposte to tech-mad humanist hogwash about Progress. It gets you thinking. (Avila)
*Beardo Ashby Stage, 1901 Ashby, Berk; (510) 841-6500, www.shotgunplayers.org . $17-26. Thurs-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 5pm. Through Apil 24. Shotgun Players present a an original songplay about Rasputin.
East 14th – True Tale of a Reluctant Player The Marsh Berkeley, 2120 Allston Way, Berk; (800) 838-3006, www.themarsh.org . $20-50. Sat, 8pm; Sun, 7pm. Through May 8. Don Reed's one-man show continues.
Eccentricities of a Nightingale Aurora Theatre, 2081 Addison; (510) 843-4822, www.auroratheatre.org . $34-45. Tues, 7pm; Wed-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 2 and 7pm. Through May 8. Aurora Theatre Company presents a Tennessee Williams drama.
Free Range Thinking Marsh Berkeley, TheaterStage, 2120 Allston, Berk; (800) 838-3006, www.themarsh.org . $15-50. Fri, 8pm; Sat, 5pm. Through Sat/ 9. The Marsh Berkeley presents a new comedic solo show by Robert Dubac.
Not a Genuine Black Man The Marsh Berkeley, TheaterStage, 2120 Allston Way, Berk; (800) 838-3006, www.themarsh.org . $20-50. Thurs, 7:30pm. Through May 5. Brian Copeland's one-man show continues.
Out of Sight The Marsh Berkeley, Theaterstage, 2120 Allston Way, Berk; (800) 838-3006, www.themarsh.org . $20-50. Sat, 5pm (no show Sat/9); Sun, 3pm. Through May 8. Sara Felder's one-woman show returns.
*Ruined Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Roda Theatre, 2015 Addison, Berk; (510) 647-2949, www.berkeleyrep.org . $29-73. Call for dates and times. Through Sun/10. Berkeley Rep presents Lynn Nottage's Pulitzer-winning play about the lives of women in Africa.
Singing at the Edge of the World The Cabaret at The Marsh Berkeley, 2120 Allston Way, Berk; (800) 838-3006, www.brownpapertickets.com . $15-35. Thurs-Fri, 8pm; Sat, 5pm. Through April 16. The Marsh presents a one-man show by Randy Rutherford.
Snow Falling on Cedars TheatreWorks at Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts, 500 Castro, Mtn View; (650) 463-1960, www.theatreworks.org . $24-67. Tues-Wed, 7:30pm; Thurs-Fri, 8pm; Sat, 2 and 8pm; Sun, 2 and 7pm. Through April 24. TheatreWorks presents a stage adaptation of the David Guterson novel.
The World's Funniest Bubble Show The Marsh Berkeley, Cabaret, 2120 Allston Way, Berk; (800) 838-3006, www.themarsh.org . $8-50. Through July 10. The bubbles keep flowing.