Theater

Curtain calls

Fall Arts Preview: Theater gets political, playful, potent
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Fall arts resolution No. 1: have no faith in leaders. Obummer and McPain will only disappoint, or worse. (Probably worse.) If faith you must ooze, kindly direct it toward people who really care about you and have your interests at heart. Why did Gore Vidal write his play The Best Man (1960), for instance? Most likely it wasn't to get elected (though he did try). Read more »

Connect four

Fall Arts Preview: A quartet of our favorite artists and performers -- this week's cover stars -- sounds off
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Photos by Jeffery Cross

GUILLERMO GÓMEZ PEÑA

SFBG Who is inspiring or revolting to you, in terms of art and performance, including political performance?

Guillermo Gómez-Peña The best and — most inspiring performance I've experienced took place in the Mexico City zocalo. Read more »

2008 Bay Area Playwrights Festival

Celebration of the scripts
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PREVIEW Even 32 years after the Playwrights Foundation chose a young Sam Shepard for its first Bay Area Playwrights Festival in 1976, the annual celebration of the script still runs below the radar of the larger local theater-going audience. Perhaps that's because most fans of the stage want to see a full production — with costumes, sets, and lighting design — rather than the bare-bones staged readings at the festival. Read more »

Blood in, blood out

Can incest and vengeance right an upside-down world?
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In John Ford's 'Tis Pity She's a Whore, when Parma's bright and talented Giovanni (Michael Hayden) confesses to Friar Bonaventura (Steven Anthony Jones) his passion for his equally exceptional sister, Annabella (René Augesen), the friar is quick to understand the stakes, declaring, "We have need to pray." He advises Giovanni to turn from so unnatural a desire to repentance and sorrow. Read more »

Mixed doubles

Yves Jacques talks Robert Lepage and The Andersen Project
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A new work by Robert Lepage is always a major event. In theater, the Quebecois director, actor, and filmmaker stands with the likes of Robert Wilson or Peter Sellars at the pinnacle of theatrical invention and global acclaim. Little wonder that, like Wilson and Sellars, Lepage has found opera a logical outlet for his extraordinary capacities and grand, all-encompassing visions. Read more »

Art Street Theatre

Longing for Moscow
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PREVIEW The places we long to be often have the greatest hold on our imaginations. In Chekhov's The Three Sisters, Olga, Masha, and Irina dream of returning to Moscow, believing it's the only place they can be truly happy. Of course, in Chekhov's version, they never do manage to reach the Promised Land. Their dreams unfulfilled, the sisters eventually must resign themselves to their respective quiet desperations. Read more »

Acting pleasant

Notable theater performances of 2007
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George Bernard Shaw once titled a bound collection of his dramas Plays Pleasant and Unpleasant, thus inadvertently summing up any year in any theater scene anywhere. But this is a happy time, so we can concentrate on the former.

The pool of local acting talent, in particular, spoils us in the Bay Area. While it's not hard to find a strong performance from last year, finding room to list them all is another story, and a much longer one. Read more »

Chair and chair alike

Adam Bock plumbs the depths of commitment in The Shaker Chair
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What we owe one another, whether family, friends, fellow human beings, or just fellow creatures — and how we define we in the first place — is a perennial question of both politics and art. Read more »

Disaster preparedness

Ellen Gavin's Stardust and Empty Wagons: Stories from the Katrina Diaspora
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Above a semicircle of wooden crates arranged on a weathered wooden stage, two tattered flags of New Orleans and the United States are projected on a back screen. The flags appear to flutter in the rotating series of overlapping still images. Read more »

I feel pretty

Keeping up with appearances in elastic future's Beautiful and ACT's The Rainmaker
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"Make my world beautiful," commands the (drag) queen (Flynn Witmeyer) of her corseted courtiers. The incantation naturally has something defiant and (given our location in a loft on Capp near 16th Street) maybe even a little urgent about it, summoning the new Eden as an unruly if royal realm of gender-blurring sexual role play and uninhibited frolic. Naturally too there's bound to be trouble in paradise, the intruder in this instance being no snake but rather a pair of slithering fish-head waiters. Read more »