Theater

Missing person

'Se Llama Cristina' offers a sentimental story beneath a gritty exterior

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arts@sfbg.com

THEATER A filthy, forlorn world emerges in surreal half-light at the outset of Magic Theater's premiere of Se Llama Cristina, the new play by celebrated San Francisco–based playwright Octavio Solis. But almost as quickly, its initially intriguing outlines begin to look artificial, becoming the bloated lines of caricature more than a poetical evocation of real life, as the sentiment at the heart of this sometimes forceful but finally thin and frustrating play steadily takes over.Read more »

Festival of festivals

Some highlights from New York's APAP-pourri

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THEATER The chill air had no snow in it. Instead, a particularly nasty outbreak of influenza whipped through the city, leaving a fine coating of mucus on the ground. Still, New York City looked beautiful as the various performing arts festivals that cluster around the annual meeting of APAP (the Association of Performing Arts Presenters) all revved up for a fat two weeks of shows this January.Read more »

London diary

Cruising to the end of story, and Forced Entertainment's 'The Coming Storm'
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THEATER Tom Cruise, clad in military drag, descended last week by RAF helicopter into Trafalgar Square in what is best described as forced entertainment but was in fact a time-wasting scene from his upcoming blockbuster All You Need Is Kill. Not quite simultaneously but with considerably more stealth, I advanced into South London's Battersea area, in a completely uncoordinated foray, to see the latest from famed Sheffield-based pomo theater artists Forced Entertainment.Read more »

GOLDIES 2012: Anna Ishida

A a chameleon-like quality and versatile vocals that make her so compelling to watch on stage.

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GOLDIES One of the very first things you'll notice about Anna Ishida, onstage and off, is an aura of self-possession that simultaneously grounds her and yet sets her ever-so-subtly apart in a crowd. But she also has a chameleon-like quality, a way of blending seamlessly into her surroundings, whether it's a 49-seat black box theater on Natoma Street, or the hip buzz of Farley's East in Oakland, where we meet over coffee and sandwiches.Read more »

Intimate company

Cutting Ball's Ghost Sonata stalks the stage as the opening gambit of its Strindberg Cycle

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Dog eat dog

Times change (but maybe not so much) in beautifully staged, Pulitzer-winning 'Topdog/Underdog'

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Pi in the sky, fig leaf optional

The annual San Francisco Fringe Festival embraces humanity again

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arts@sfbg.com

THEATER Aficionados of the San Francisco Fringe Festival, now in its 21st year, know that sorting out the clowns, puppets, relationships, rock operas, and foreskin on display or under consideration across 12 days and roughly 40 shows can be a real crapshoot. But that's the deal — and at least part of the appeal — with a curator-free, lottery-based program in which anybody with an act and the luck of the draw can set up shop for an hour on one of the handful of stages in operation at the Exit Theatre complex and participating venues. Read more »

More than ink

Mission gangs and tattoos are the stuff of a dynamic experiment in theater activism, as Paul S. Flores' Placas moves from page to stage

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arts@sfbg.com

THEATER In 2009, Paul S. Flores was at work on his new play, Placas: The Most Dangerous Tattoo, in consultation with Alex Sanchez, founder of Homies Unidos, when a call came from Denver that brought everything to a standstill.Read more »

Howdy, strangers

FALL ARTS PREVIEW: UK-based Action Hero collaborates with local artists on 'Stranger in a Strange Land' — plus more upcoming theater

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FALL ARTS Gemma Paintin and James Stenhouse were obsessed with Americana long before the two Bristol-based performance makers (known collectively as Action Hero) ever set their cowboy boots in the United States. In fact, they'd performed their site-specific first piece, a barroom exploration of the Western (called simply A Western) for years before lobbing it into the belly of the beast, where it appeared as part of Austin, Texas' Fusebox Festival in 2010.Read more »

Celebrity rehab

'Project: Lohan' takes a second look at LiLo and finds a portrait of the times

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