Stage

Something absurd you may have heard

Cutting Ball's Bald Soprano and Spare Stage's A Body of Water
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arts@sfbg.com

THEATER The Bald Soprano and A Body of Water, two very different plays, share a strange symmetry. Both feature a married couple with no recollection whatsoever of their longstanding daily relationship who gingerly grope toward mutual recognition.

Cutting Ball Theater's slick production of Eugene Ionesco's The Bald Soprano clocks in at a breezy and laugh-filled 70 minutes. Artistic director Rob Melrose's staging is exactingly precise yet nimble enough to seem almost carefree. Read more »

Monique Jenkinson

GOLDIES 2009: As Fauxnique, she mines diamond truths about the relationship between women and gay men
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johnny@sfbg.com

"It takes a village to make a solo," Monique Jenkinson, a.k.a. Fauxnique, quips over drinks at the Lone Palm, before finding a sequin from her blouse in the peanut jar. Read more »

No pain, no gain

Thrillpeddlers' Torture Garden and Phantom Limb give the Halloween itch a satisfying scratch
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arts@sfbg.com

THEATER Thrillpeddlers, the Bay Area's Grand Guignol maestros, is having a very good year. Read more »

'Dead' is alive

Joe Goode, Holcombe Waller, and UC Berkeley Students deliver a promising new work
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DANCE REVIEW Wonderboy, Basil Twist's adorably insecure puppet in Joe Goode's 2008 work of the same name, has grown up. His name is Monroe (Daniel Duque-Estrada), and he lives in a community looking eerily like that in one of Armistead Maupin's light-hearted Tales of the City. It even includes a wise woman named Anna (Lura Dola) who likes to grow plants. But Goode digs deeper.

Monroe is the hero of Goode and Holcombe Waller's new musical Dead Boys. He is still scared, but now to the point where he has shut down his emotions. Read more »

Too clever by half

American Idiot's Broadway launch at Berkeley Rep
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">THEATER REVIEW With a notable streak of successful New York–bound liftoffs and landings — for everything from solo shows (Bridge & Tunnel) to unconventional musicals (Passing Strange) — it's fair to call Berkeley Rep the regional NASA to Broadway's firmament. It therefore seemed more savvy than surprising that the Rep took on staging Green Day's humongous hit concept album, American Idiot, as a musical. Read more »

DanceWright Project and special guests

A sense for craft, a lack of pretense, and a love for ballet
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PREVIEW "Jamie Ray Wright came to dance later than most," the choreographer and artistic director of the DanceWright Project says of himself — an understatement if there ever was one. At Stanford, Wright was a pop musician who then embarked on a career in marketing. For 20 years he watched dance from the audience's perspective but finally "could stand it no longer" and started to study ballet 24/7, three hours a day. Read more »

Ballet without borders

Courage Group premiered a mixed bag of new works at the Jewish Community Center
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a&eletters@sfbg.com

REVIEW For its first appearance — with three new works — at the Jewish Community Center Sept. 3-4, the Courage Group attracted a large, appreciative audience. It's easy to see why. Over his company's seven years of existence, Todd Courage has developed a choreographic language that is ballet-based but thoroughly contemporary in the way it tears — sometimes humorously, sometimes sarcastically — at ballet's edges. Read more »

San Francisco Fringe Festival

250 performances of over 40 experimental works by companies near and far in just two weeks
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PREVIEW There is literally something for everyone at this year's 18th annual San Francisco Fringe Festival. Don't try to argue, man — this year's slate, which jams over 250 performances of over 40 experimental works by companies near and far into just under two weeks, is incredibly diverse. Read more »

Border bender

Thick Description's revival of Octavio Solis's El Otro is a trip
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a&eletters@sfbg.com

Heading south across the Rio Grande, their pants and shoes raised high over their heads, a 13-year-old Mexican American girl named Romy (Maria Candelaria) and her two sort-of fathers — inveterate bad boy Lupe (Sean San José) and straight-laced new stepdad Ben (Johnny Moreno) — wade into the past as their only way forward. Read more »

RAWdance presents the Concept Series: 5

A series of informal presentations that sparkle with fresh ideas, although the individual works are rarely finished
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PREVIEW RAWdance's Concept Series is the brainchild of dancer-choreographers Ryan T. Smith and Wendy Rein, who needed a lab situation in which to test concept and show works in progress. They invited friends and artists who looked interesting and who had similar concerns. The result is a series of informal presentations that sparkle with fresh ideas, although the individual works are rarely finished. Watching this type of dance is so inviting, despite the tiny, near-impossible performance space. Read more »