Best of the Bay 2013: BEST STICK TO THE SCRIPT


Books on tape, books on schmape. If you're looking for the words of great literature to leap off the page (or titanium dioxide electrophoretic screen, if you're Kindlin'), look no further than the 20-year-old tradition that is Z Space's Word for Word series. In 1993, the legend goes, Susan Harloe and JoAnne Winter founded the company in order to "tell great stories with elegant theatricality, staging performances of classic and contemporary fiction." The first production, of Dorothy Parker story "The Standard of Living," played to a packed house. Seventy staged works — from classics like Sherwood Anderson's homey Winesburg, Ohio and Tennessee Williams' homo-textual "Two on a Party" to cutting edge contemporary works like Siobhan Fallon's resonant Iraq War-fallout story cycle "You Know When the Men Are Gone" and Nathan Englander's post-Holocaust domestic tale "What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank" (performed at the Jewish Community Center) — and a tour of France later, the inimitable W4W troupe just took on the title story of Dan Chaon's 2012 collection Stay Awake for Litquake. In a delightful meta-move, Word for Word will stage 36 stories by SF's patron saint of the theater, Sam Shepard, in May 2014.