Theater

The Cutting Ball Theater

GOLDIES 2008 winner: It's often the warped glass that furnishes the truest picture
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If you were at the latest Cutting Ball show, avantgardARAMA!, you entered a theater that looked like an art installation, already buzzing and flickering with video images on a screen suspended in front of a shimmering mirror-box set, accompanied by a soundtrack of voices and droning tones. It was like some serenely wicked room in a purgatorial funhouse, where all you've been and all you might become could be reflected at you, from every possible angle, ad infinitum. Read more »

The Thousand Faces Ball

OmniCircus continues to thrill and trouble audiences
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PREVIEW Imagine the unsavory digs of the Mos Eisley Cantina of Tatooine stormed by a horde of previously barred droids and miscreants and forced to hold a variety show to stave off certain destruction — it's a scene reminiscent of those generated by San Francisco's OmniCircus, which has been simultaneously thrilling and troubling audiences for two decades. Read more »

No Seth Rogen

This Knocked Up studies the social baggage of two pregnant couples
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REVIEW Two young family-hungry couples, one unassuming victim of the staff Christmas party, and a lonely alky wife and mom-bonking boy-next-door all find themselves variously knocked up, around, and for a loop by the reproductive process in Imaginative Productions' stage adaptation of its 2006 independent film, "conceived" and directed by Tonya Foster. Read more »

Waving the black flag

Henry Rollins, punk progenitor, takes a talking tour about the state of the nation
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PREVIEW First the bad news, straight from the wise-ass, too-literate, poetry-writing punk rocker who once muscled his way through Los Angeles hardcore byways and back: "I think McCain will win," Henry Rollins tells me over the phone in Los Angeles after humping a shipment of his new book, Fanatic! Vol. Three (21361), off the truck and into his offices.

"He's just an awful person." Rollins pauses. "I'm one to talk, but I'm not as awful. I just think America will make the wrong choice again. Read more »

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 »