Theater

Pillow talk

Storytelling makes for gripping theater in Martin McDonagh's The Pillowman
|
()

› a&eletters@sfbg.com

The cold air these last weeks has played foul-weather friend to a couple chilling stage stories about serial child killers — one of them is even called Frozen. Both were recently toasts of Broadway too, though only one includes scary little apple men (not to mention the titular figure of a giant fellow made of soft cushions). Read more »

WOW now

Molissa Fenley highlights the second program of a growing festival
|
()

› a&eletters@sfbg.com

Every January the Women on the Way Festival throws a spotlight on the performing arts as practiced by the female of the species. Not that producer Mary Alice Fry has to dig very deep in the field of dance, which is still heavily dominated by women. (For the moment we have to leave the reasons to sociologists — or perhaps psychiatrists.)

If this year's second of three programs is any indication, the festival's move from a tiny space on Ninth Street to Dance Mission Theater a couple years ago has blunted its funky edge. Read more »

Goldies Theatre winner Last Planet Theatre

|
()

Offensive. Repugnant. Sick. Few theater directors enjoy hearing these words from patrons, especially as they're bolting up the aisle ahead of the first-act curtain. Then again, for some there's a certain satisfaction in knowing you're still on track.
"The audiences are getting bigger," notes Last Planet Theatre's artistic director, John R. Wilkins. "Sometimes they hate it and walk out. They aren't walking out, out of boredom. They're walking out because it's too much."
That's all right with him, provided what offends is delivered with artistic skill, vision, and honesty. Read more »

Close encounters

The always in-search-of Erica Shuch sends her talents into Orbit
|
()

› a&eletters@sfbg.com
Love is more than metaphor in Orbit (notes from the edge of forever). Love is like the intractable need connected to the exploration of space — especially when the search is bent toward the hope of some ultimate encounter: that contact with somebody, out there, who knows who you are. Read more »

Burritos of the gods

Michael Showalter discusses humor, metahumor, sushi, and, er, metasushi
|
()

› a&eletters@sfbg.com
SFBG So what inspires you?
MICHAEL SHOWALTER You do, you inspire me.
I think about you in the morning. I doodle little pictures of your face and think about you making me a burrito. Sometimes I doodle little pictures of you making me a burrito.
OK, so maybe that isn't exactly how it goes. Although Showalter is a doodle enthusiast, he is only mildly turned on by baby-size burritos. Being the narcissistic Bay Area dweller that I am, I immediately ask Showalter, who's on the phone from his home in New York City, about San Francisco.
"I like San Francisco. Read more »

Weill-ing away the hours

A Happy End - and a Rude Boy worth investigating
|
()

› a&eletters@sfbg.com
Happy End was thrown together in 1929 at the behest of a starry-eyed theater producer looking to capitalize on the surprise success the previous year of Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill's The Threepenny Opera. It was an ominous year for capitalizing ventures in general, you might say. As if to prove it, Happy End, whose story of Chicago gangsters and Salvation Army evangelists was cobbled together by Brecht and Elisabeth Hauptmann, was anything but a success in its time. In fact, after its famously negative reception Brecht made a point of distancing himself from it. Read more »

Hotel California

Z marks the present moment in Culture Clash's excellent Zorro in Hell
|
()


The father of all masked superheroes, Zorro first appeared in California in 1919, in serial form, brought to life by pulp writer Johnston McCulley. Soon afterward, the suave, playful Zorro (the secret identity of the decidedly unglamorous Don Diego Vega) became an enduring international phenomenon, thanks to screen legend Douglas Fairbanks Sr., and continues to evolve in a slew of films, TV shows, and comic books up to and including a new Isabel Allende novel and a forthcoming musical scored by the Gipsy Kings.Read more »