Stage

Public trance-portation

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arts@sfbg.com

THEATER When caught riding Muni, one way to while away the time and ignore the lunatic seated next to you is to gaze out on the passing scene and its traffic, at the buildings and neighborhoods and detritus of the city, at all the lovers and loners, the shiny things people wear and drive and push and collect, as well as the tattered and forgotten stuff no one loves anymore.Read more »

Let us entertain you

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caitlin@sfbg.com

STAGE It's not every day that I have a circus all to myself. And it's making me exceedingly nervous. Mark Wessels, one of Circus Bella's veteran clowns, is being installed by his coworkers on a unicycle whose dizzying height — which already recalls that of a vintage penny-farthing — is further exacerbated by its position on a five-foot platform. "I'll be fine if I fall," Wessels says. "I'll try not to fall."Read more »

The facts of Cloris

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arts@sfbg.com

STAGE With nearly 250 credits in film, television, and stage roles to her name, Cloris Leachman is a true entertainment icon. It's hard to believe the ever-vivacious and lively actress got her start in show business competing in the Miss America pageant back in 1946, but the now 84-year-old star has generously filled a career spanning more than 60 years.Read more »

The odd couple

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I to eye

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arts@sfbg.com

THEATER The white scrim separating the audience from the stage is an immediately impressive aspect of Marilee Talkington's solo autobiographical play, Truce, in which the American Conservatory Theater–trained actor, director, and writer recounts growing up and coming to terms with a rare congenital disease — cone-rod dystrophy — that has gradually been taking her eyesight from her. The milky white gossamer screen creates a permanent distance, a soft distortion, through which the play attempts communication, understanding, and empathy.Read more »

Reality bites

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arts@sfbg.com

THEATER Feb. 5 saw a varied but collectively incensed body of American conservatives unfurl itself all red-white-and-blue in Nashville's Gaylord Opryland Hotel for the first Tea Party Nation convention. The delegates, dubbed "teabaggers" by media wags and hailing from all parts of the land, responded enthusiastically to a keynote speech bewailing the "Islamification" of a nation overrun by foreigners and subverted from within by the Obama administration, the green movement, and the "cult of multiculturalism."Read more »

Tragically hip

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arts@sfbg.com

THEATER The Oedipus of Sophocles gets transposed to the California prison system and East L.A. in Luis Alfaro's lively Oedipus el Rey, playing at the Magic Theatre in a world premiere slickly staged by artistic director Loretta Greco. Neither the classic nor contemporary terrain is new turf for Alfaro, whose Electricidad similarly reset the Electra myth. But San Francisco is another story, this being the acclaimed L.A.-based Latino playwright's first professional Bay Area production.Read more »

Cheers!

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arts@sfbg.com

THEATER It's hardly news, but holiday shows can be fairly dreary treats. Given such periods of seasonal affective disorder as the theater may present, it's a genuine surprise and pleasure to discover the wit and wile strutting the boards at SF Playhouse — tucked into a far corner of Union Square somewhere just north-by-northwest of that big Christmas tree — where the season offering is a sparkling production of David Greenspan's She Stoops to Comedy.

Mercifully, the plot has nothing to do with yuletide or smiling through a bad case of rickets. Read more »

Big bang

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THEATER "Stop the world, I want to get off" — a hoary phrase of pop weltschmerz that only now strikes me as a choice bit of narcissistic prurience, thanks to Peter Sinn Nachtrieb. Read more »