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Culture, The Exhibitionist Danai Gurira's Play Explores Effects of Colonialism and Christianity on Zimbabwe

Danai Gurira's Play Explores Effects of Colonialism and Christianity on Zimbabwe

Some people think a story needs to be mainstream to appeal to mainstream audiences. Actress and playwright Danai Gurira doesn’t agree. Growing up in Zimbabwe, she loved watching westerns, and she believes people can relate to any kind of story…
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Culture, Stage Bad Trip: Plays About the History of Comedy and Crack Cocaine Should Be Anything but Boring.

Bad Trip: Plays About the History of Comedy and Crack Cocaine Should Be Anything but Boring.

The truest moment in The Complete History of Comedy (abridged) isn't when the three performers kick one another in the balls (or, as they might prefer to call them, "nards"), tell dead baby jokes, or make convincing parallels between the…
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Culture, The Exhibitionist "Failure" Playwright Looks for Joy in the Face of Tragedy

"Failure" Playwright Looks for Joy in the Face of Tragedy

On an impromptu road trip through Indiana with a friend, Chicago playwright Philip Dawkins, saw a cemetery with a headstone that read "Fail." Getting out to take pictures, he realized it was a marker for a whole family. This,…
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Culture, The Exhibitionist "Lasso of Truth" Explores Wonder Woman's Unconventional Origins

"Lasso of Truth" Explores Wonder Woman's Unconventional Origins

Growing up in upstate New York, playwright Carson Kreitzer wasn't allowed to watch much TV, but her mom made an exception for Lynda Carter as Wonder Woman, and Kreitzer loved seeing a strong, compassionate woman helping others rather than…
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Culture, Stage Untameable: Lauren Gunderson Writes Just About Every Bay Area Play This Year

Untameable: Lauren Gunderson Writes Just About Every Bay Area Play This Year

Pick up a random Bay Area theater's brochure this year, and there's a surprisingly large chance you'll see the name Lauren Gunderson in it. The Georgia-born, NYU-educated playwright, who has lived in the Bay Area since 2009, has an unheard-of…
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Culture, The Exhibitionist Beauty Queen of Leenane

Beauty Queen of Leenane

Martin McDonagh, the author of acclaimed plays including "A Skull in Connemara," "The Lieutenant of Inishmore" and "The Pillowman", as well as the movies In Bruges and Seven Psychopaths, is an exceptional writer, says Shotgun Players member Beth Wilmurt, who…
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Culture, Stage Holiday Theater: Audio-Visual Magic in Berkeley and Marin

Holiday Theater: Audio-Visual Magic in Berkeley and Marin

For theater companies, the holiday season can be less "good will toward men" than "notorious conundrum." This time of year is one of the most difficult parts of a season to plan. Ticket sales have the potential to surge, with…
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Culture, Stage Revisionist History: Two Second Acts of John Wilkes Booth

Revisionist History: Two Second Acts of John Wilkes Booth

When Galen Murphy-Hoffman enters the stage in Shotgun's production of Assassins, you recognize his character immediately. The ashen complexion, the mustache, the frock coat, the fixed, ghostly stare: a portrait straight out of a history textbook. But in this Stephen…
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Culture, Stage "Circle Mirror Transformation": Annie Baker Lets Actors Play

"Circle Mirror Transformation": Annie Baker Lets Actors Play

"Play the game yourselves a few times," said Kip Fagan, director of Circle Mirror Transformation, at a recent rehearsal. "In character?" asked an actor. "As yourselves," he said. The game was one-word story, an acting exercise in which participants try…
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Culture, The Exhibitionist Parents Square Off in High-Class Cage Match: Marin Theatre Company's <em>God of Carnage</em>

Parents Square Off in High-Class Cage Match: Marin Theatre Company's God of Carnage

Nina Ball's set for Marin Theatre Company's production of God of Carnage is one of the most apt and striking designs for the stage that we've seen in a while. It clearly announces its characters' class, with its high ceilings,…
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Calendar, Night&Day Oh, Brother: Part Two of McCraney&#146;s Trilogy

Oh, Brother: Part Two of McCraney’s Trilogy

Call it a case of unreasonable expectations. The Brothers Size, now making its West Coast premiere at Magic Theatre, is Part Two in Tarell Alvin McCraney’s much-ballyhooed Brother/Sister trilogy. Part One, In the Red and Brown Water, opened at Marin…
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Culture, Stage "In the Red and Brown Water" is worth the hype

"In the Red and Brown Water" is worth the hype

The play begins with a single, sharp intake of breath. That's only fitting, because the anticipation surrounding this thing has been enormous. Tarell Alvin McCraney's In the Red and Brown Water, now making its West Coast premiere at Marin Theatre…
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Culture, Stage Fall Arts: Stage events you shouldn't miss

Fall Arts: Stage events you shouldn't miss

Alice Theatre of Yugen Sept. 8-19 at Theatre of Yugen, 2840 Mariposa (at Alabama), S.F. $15; 621-0507 or www.theatreofyugen.org. The last thing the world needs is yet another interpretation of Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland, but I'd be willing to…
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Culture, Stagecap

Killer Joe

Marin Theatre Company's sold-out production of playwright Tracy Letts' Killer Joe has moved to the Magic Theatre, and reactions couldn't be stronger. It's essentially a hillbilly noir set in a Texas trailer park, in which members of the white trash…
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Culture, Stage

The Hairy Ape

Eugene O'Neill's brief but powerful play about a coal stoker on a trans-Atlantic ocean liner has survived long enough to be credibly produced by the Marin Theatre Company because O'Neill flirted with socialist themes but never made them the core…
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Culture, Stage

Mississippi Mirth

History and literature are full of inspirational stories about exceptional people rising from humble origins and accomplishing heroic feats. From the Mississippi Delta, the autobiographical drama by Endesha Ida Mae Holland, is such a tale, and as presented by the…
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Culture, Stage

Bumpy Flight

Portraying an archetypal character as anything other than a cliche is no small feat. Imagine the difficulty of playing in a carnival of archetypes and you have an idea of the challenges facing the cast of the Marin Theatre Company's…
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Culture, Stage

Appetite for Destruction

It was a dark and stormy night. Another dark and stormy night -- but after the latest deluge, at least power had been restored for The Art of Dining at Marin Theatre Company. It's possible that the cast was suffering…
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