Hunter's Point St. Boniface Church Theater, 175 Golden Gate, SF; www.strangeangelstheater.org . $15-25 (no one turned away for lack of funds). Opens Fri/16, 7pm. Runs Sat/17, Sept 23-24, and Sept 28-Oct 1, 7pm (also Sept 23, 2pm). Strange Angels Theater in collaboration with Jump! Theatre performs Elizabeth Gjelten's musical drama about homelessness.
Night Over Erzinga South Side Theatre, Magic Theatre, Fort Mason Center, Marina at Laguna, SF; (415) 345-7575, www.goldenthread.org . $20-100. Previews Thurs/15, 8:30pm; Fri/16-Sat/17, 8pm. Opens Sun/18, 5pm. Runs Thurs, 8:30pm; Fri-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 2pm. Through Oct 9. Golden Thread Productions premieres Adriana Sevahn Nichols' story about the immigrant experience in the United States, set just after the Armenian Genocide.
The Odyssey Aboard Alma, Hyde Street Pier, San Francisco Maritime National Historic Park, SF; www.weplayers.org . $160. Opens Sat/17, 12:30pm. Runs Sun/18, Oct 1, 28-29, Nov 4-6, 11-12, and 18, 12:30pm. This "full afternoon adventure" (12:30-5pm) includes a sailing performance of tales from Homer by We Players (aboard an 1891 scow schooner), plus a light meal.
"AfroSolo Arts Festival" Various venues, SF; www.afrosolo.org . Free-$100. Through Oct 20. The AfroSolo Theatre Company presents its 18th annual festival celebrating African American artists, musicians, and performers.
All Atheists Are Muslim Stage Werx Theatre, 533 Sutter, SF; (415) 517-3581, www.brownpapertickets.com . $20. Thurs-Sat, 8pm. Through Oct 1. On the TV, CNN carries the dismal thumping of the Bush gang for more war. In the living room, a father and daughter are in a standoff over a proposed live-in boyfriend. It's 2005, and a clash of generations, as Zahra tries to convince her immigrant Iranian American Muslim father that her white infidel boyfriend Duncan would make an ideal roommate. For her Muslim father, "the Duncan" has plenty of acceptable virtues — even his professed atheism is hardly an insurmountable obstacle to dad, who doesn't seem to recognize the word but is sure it translates into a wishy-washy approach to the divine through an enthusiastic appreciation for gravity. But moving in together is a different story. How it plays out is the heart of comedian and solo performer Zahra Noorbakhsh's uneven but charming and funny take on a familiar American family dynamic whose particular ethnic flavor includes a mild but timely geopolitical aroma. Playing herself as well as her loving mother, her bounding and big-hearted father (with his priceless Persian accent), and her good-natured but recalcitrant boyfriend, Noorbakhsh celebrates the immigrant experience while beating back the age's pernicious appeal to stereotype and xenophobia with the far more realistic metaphor of a nice, crazy family dinner. (Avila)
American Buffalo Actors Theatre of San Francisco, 855 Bush, SF; (415) 345-1287, www.actorstheatresf.org . $26-38. Wed-Sat, 8pm (no show Sept 22). Extended through Oct 8. Actors Theatre of San Francisco performs the David Mamet crime classic.
Cymbeline Parade Ground Lawn, Main Post, Presidio (between Graham and Keyes), SF; www.sfshakes.org . Free. Sat, 7:30pm; Sun, 2:30pm. Through Sept 25. The San Francisco Shakespeare Festival presents its annual "Free Shakespeare in the Park" performance.
Exit, Pursued By a Bear Boxcar Playhouse, 505 Natoma, SF; www.crowdedfire.org . $10-35. Wed/14-Sat/17, 8pm. Crowded Fire performs Lauren Gunderson's new play, a feminist revenge comedy.
Geezer Marsh, 1062 Valencia, SF; (415) 282-3055. $25-100. Thurs/15, 8pm; Sat/17-Sun/18, 5pm. Geoff Hoyle returns to the Marsh with his acclaimed solo show.
Joy With Wings: A Daughter's Tale Alcove Theater, 415 Mason, Fifth Flr, SF; www.brownpapertickets.com . $32-50. Wed-Thurs, 8pm. Through Oct 6. Chaucer Theater performs Becky Parker's drama about a mother's love.
King Henry the Sixth Boxcar Studios, 125a Hyde, SF; www.brownpapertickets.com . $12-15. Thurs/15-Sat/17, 8pm. Do It Live Productions debuts with a contemporary Shakespeare adaptation.
A Midsummer Night's Dream Phoenix Theatere, 414 Mason, Sixth flr, SF; (415) 509-8656. $10-20. Thurs/15-Sat/17, 8pm (also Sat/17, 3pm). Ninjaz of Drama and Divinity Productions Presents Rey Carolino's contemporary staging of the Bard's classic.
Not Getting Any Younger Marsh San Francisco, Studio Theater, 1062 Valencia, SF; (415) 826-5750, www.themarsh.org . $15-50. Thurs-Fri, 8pm; Sat, 8:30pm; Sun, 3pm. Through Oct 23. Marga Gomez performs her comedy about "lies, vanity, and the good old days."
*Patience Worth Thick House, 1695 18th St, SF; (415) 456-8892, www.symmetrytheatre.com . $20-30. Thurs-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 2pm. Through Oct 2. In the second decade of the 20th century, a young new St. Louis bride named Pearl Curran (Megan Trout), looking to rise above her humble Ozarks upbringing yet with hopeless aspirations to be a singer, suddenly began channeling the spirit of a 16th-century woman named Patience Worth. The rest was literary history, here uncovered and subtly examined by playwright Michelle Carter in Symmetry Theatre Company's thoughtful, gradually stirring world premiere, its second production after last year's strong debut (with Anthony Clarvoe's Show and Tell). Introduced to Patience by Emily Hutchings (Elena Wright) and her Ouija board, Pearl soon displaces the chagrined Hutchings — who has literary aspirations of her own she pedals doggedly to the leading publisher of the day (Warren David Keith) — and inverts the patriarchal order as her much older husband (Keith) plays stenographer to the virtuosic verbosity of the spirit. When she adopts a child for Patience whome she names Patience Wee (Alona Bach), she drives the desperately lonely young girl into the arms of her equally isolated mother (Jessica Powell) toward an unexpected and terrible inspiration. Director Erika Chong Shuch sets her able cast (headed by Trout's sure take on a complex figure) atop an area rug backed by a line of trees and strewn over the bare earth, like a floating island of bourgeois respectability amid a wild and mysterious sea of natural and supernatural impulses, in a complex tale of female liberation that intersects with questions of fame, status, self-invention, ventriloquism, and a dark bargain with destiny that has something quintessentially American about it. (Avila)
"San Francisco Fringe Festival" Exit Theatre, 156 Eddy, SF; (415) 673-3847, www.sffringe.org . $7-10 (passes, $40-75). Through Sun/18. The 20th annual fest contains over 40 shows highlighting unique indie theater.
Show Ho New Conservatory Theatre Center, 25 Van Ness, SF; (415) 861-8972, www.nctcsf.org . $20-32. Thurs-Sat, 8pm; Oct 9, 2pm. Through Oct 9. Sara Moore performs her multi-character story about a clown in a low-rent circus.
"3 Guys in Drag Selling Their Stuff" Garage, 975 Howard, SF; www.brownpapertickets.com . $20. Fri/16-Sat/17, 8pm. Edward Crosby Wells' bawdy comedy is about a trio of friends who host an unusual yard sale.
True West NOHspace, 2840 Mariposa, SF; 1-800-838-3006, www.truewestsf.com . $10-28. Wed/14-Sat/17, 8pm. Expression Productions presents Sam Shepard's tale of two brothers.
Turandot War Memorial Opera House, 201 Van Ness, SF; (415) 864-3330, www.sfopera.com . $21-389. Wed/14, Sept 22, and Oct 4, 7:30pm; Sat/17 and Oct 1, 8pm; Sept 25, 2pm. The San Francisco Opera performs Puccini's classic in conjunction with the Lyric Opera of Chicago.
Unveiled Brava Theater, 2781 24th St, SF; (415) 647-2822, www.brava.org . $10-25. Thurs/15-Sat/17, 3pm. Brava Theater presents Rohina Malik's solo show about five Muslim women in the post-9/11 world.
Waiting for Giovanni Decker Theater, New Conservatory Theatre Center, 25 Van Ness, SF; www.nctcsf.org . $25-36. Wed/14-Sat/17, 8pm; Sun/18, 2pm. This world-premiere play by Jewelle Gomez in collaboration with Harry Waters Jr. imagines a split-second of indecision in the mind of author James Baldwin.
The Complete History of America (abridged) Dominican University of California, Forest Meadows Amphitheater, 1475 Grand, San Rafael; (415) 499-4488, www.marinshakespeare.org . $20-35. Performance times vary; check website for schedule. Through Sept. 25. Marin Shakespeare Company performs Adam Lon, Reed Martin, and Austin Tichenor's three-person romp through American history.
*A Delicate Balance Aurora Theatre, 2081 Addison, Berk; (510) 843-4822, www.auroratheatre.org . $10-48. Tues, 7pm; Wed-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 2 and 7pm. Through Oct 9. Aurora Theatre performs Edward Albee's comedy of manners.
Madhouse Rhythm Cabaret at Marsh Berkeley, 2120 Allston, Berk; (415) 282-3055, www.themarsh.org . $15-35. Thurs, 7:30pm. Extended through Oct 6. Joshua Walters performs his hip-hop-infused autobiographical show about his experiences with bipolar disorder.
The Merry Wives of Windsor Old Mill Park, 375 Throckmorton, Mill Valley; www.curtaintheatre.org . Free. Sat/17-Sun/18, 2pm. Curtain Theatre performs Shakespeare's Falstaff-centric comedy.
Not a Genuine Black Man Marsh Berkeley, TheaterStage, 2120 Allston, Berk; 1-800-838-3006, www.themarsh.org . $20-50. Sat, 5pm (also Sept 22, 7:30pm). Through Sept 24. This is it: the final extension of Brian Copeland's solo show about growing up in (nearly) all-white San Leandro.
Of Dice and Men La Val's Subterranean, 1834 Euclid, Berk; www.impacttheatre.com . $10-20. Thurs-Sat, 8pm. Through Oct 1. Impact Theatre performs Cameron McNary's comedy about a group of adult Dungeons and Dragons players.
*Rita Moreno: Life Without Makeup Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Roda Theatre, 2015 Addison, Berk; (510) 647-2949, www.berkeleyrep.org . $14.50-73. Tues-Sun, showtimes vary. Through Oct 30. The life of stage and screen legend Rita Moreno is a subject that has no trouble filling two swift and varied acts, especially as related in anecdote, song, comedy, and dance by the serene multiple–award-winning performer and Berkeley resident herself. Indeed, that so much material gets covered so succinctly but rarely abruptly is a real achievement of this attractively adorned autobiographical solo show crafted with playwright and Berkeley Rep artistic director Tony Taccone. Director David Galligan even finds room for a couple of smart musical routines, including an expertly comic salute to Moreno's Googie Gomez in The Ritz (routines and more nicely supported by dancers Ray Garcia and Salvatore Vassallo, and a live band under musical director César Cancino). Part immigrant's tale, part insider memoir of Hollywood and Broadway — not to mention her tenure on PBS's The Electric Company, basis of an especially winning sequence here — Moreno's career as a Puerto Rican woman reared by an indomitable mother in Spanish Harlem tenements as well as the image-making entertainment industry resonates with the great historical-political themes of class, gender, and skin color. But it all remains perfectly, manageably circumscribed by an intriguing personal story of vacillating private and professional fortunes and the humble but vital roots that have afforded Moreno the rare achievement and accrued wisdom of a passionate life. (Avila)
Sense and Sensibility Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts, 500 Castro, Mtn View; (650) 463-1960, www.theatreworks.org . $19-69. Tues-Wed, 7:30pm; Thurs-Sat, 8pm (also Sat, 2pm); Sun, 2 and 7pm. Extended through Sept 25. TheatreWorks performs Roger Parsley and Andy Graham's adaptation of the Jane Austen novel.
The Tempest Dominican University of California, Forest Meadows Amphitheater, 1475 Grand, San Rafael; (415) 499-4488, www.marinshakespeare.org . $20-35. Performance times vary; check website for schedule. Through Sept 25. Marin Shakespeare Company presents Shakespeare's romance with a steampunk twist.
2012: The Musical! This week: Courthouse Square, 2200 Broadway, SF; www.sfmt.org . Free. Wed/14, 7pm. Also Sat/17-Sun/18, 2pm, Frances Willard/Ho Chi Minh Park, Hillegrass at Derby, Berk; and Mon/19, 7:30pm, Sebastiani Theatre on the Plaza, 476 First St., Sonoma. Continues through Sept 25 at various Bay Area venues. San Francisco Mime Troupe mounts their annual summer musical; this year's show is about a political theater company torn between selling out and staying true to its anti-corporate roots.
"Bare Bones Crow" Garage, 975 Howard, SF; www.brownpapertickets.com . Wed-Thurs, 8pm, $10-20. Evangel King presents the premiere of a new "shape-shifting performance."
"Extinction Burst: A Dance of Lost Movement" California Academy of Sciences, 55 Music Concourse Dr, SF; (415) 379-8000, www.calacademy.org . Thurs/15 and Sept 22, 27, 7:30pm; Tues/20 and Sept 29, 11am. Choreographer Chris Black presents a dance installation that pays homage to extinct species.
"Feast of Words: A Literary Potluck" SOMArts Cultural Center, 934 Brannan, SF; feastofwords.somarts.org. Tues, 7pm. $12. "Schoolhouse Rocks" is the theme of this dinner party for writers and foodies, with youth literary and culinary guests from 826 Valencia and Old Skool Café.
"4 Mercy: Friendly Fires" Royce Gallery, 2901 Mariposa, SF; www.brownpapertickets.com . Thurs-Sat, 8pm. $20. Southern Railroad Theatre Company performs four new short plays by Susan Jackson.
"Janaki: Daughter of the Dirt" Mission Cultural Center, 2868 Mission, SF; www.brownpapertickets.con , Fri-Sat, 7pm; Sun, 3pm. $20-45. Siren Theatre Project presents Virali Gokaldas' reinterpretation of the Ramayana.
"A Night of Rejection" Cartoon Art Museum, 655 Mission, SF; www.cartoonart.org . Tues, 7pm. $10-85. Cartoonists discuss works rejected by the New Yorker.
"The People: San Francisco" Z Space, 450 Florida, SF; www.ybca.org . Fri-Sat, 8pm. $10. Big Art Group performs an outdoor live theater and real-time video event inspired by interviews with San Francisco residents.
"PianoFight's Monday Night ForePlays" Dark Room, 2263 Mission, SF; www.pianofight.com . Mon, 8pm, Through Oct 24. $20-30. Original comedic sketches written, directed, and performed by women.
Lea Salonga Venetian Room, Fairmount San Francisco, 950 Mason, SF; www.bayareacabaret.org . Sat, 5pm, $50. The Tony-winning performer performs as part of the Bay Area Cabaret concert series.
"San Francisco's Comedy Day" Sharon Meadow, Golden Gate Park, SF; www.comedyday.com . Sun, noon-5pm. Free. The 31st annual incarnation of the free comedy festival features 40 performers, plus the chance of A-list celebrity cameos.
"Stand Up for the Tender Gender" Punch Line Comedy Club, 444 Battery, SF; petalsfundraiser.eventbee.com. Mon, 7pm. $25-50. Female comedians perform to raise money for Petals in the Dust: India's Missing Girls, a documentary about female genocide in India.
"What a Swell Party! The Cole Porter Salon" Alcazar Theater, 650 Geary, SF; (415) 255-8207, www.42ndstmoon.org . Thurs, 7pm. $70. Musical theater company 42nd Street Moon kicks off its 2011-2012 season with a salute to Porter.
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 .