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Culture, Stage Staging the Impossible: Local Theaters Take on Daunting Feats of Interpretation

Staging the Impossible: Local Theaters Take on Daunting Feats of Interpretation

Word for Word, as its name suggests, is perhaps unique among theater companies in that, in adapting works for the stage, it doesn't change a word. That's the 21-year-old company's mission: to bring literary texts to the stage as written,…
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Film, "Cold in July": Western Noir Means Angry Dads

"Cold in July": Western Noir Means Angry Dads

Not a light comedy at the expense of San Francisco after all, Cold in July transpires as a ripping good if increasingly risible Texas-set indie thriller, with Michael C. Hall doing a Dexter flip side as the nervous killer of…
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Calendar, Night&Day Innumerable Stories

Innumerable Stories

As one of America's finest dramatists and the West's most distinctive voices, Sam Shepard has won 11 Obies and one Pulitzer; acted in 56 movies; written seven screenplays, over 45 stage plays, and somewhere between 60 and 130 short…
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Culture, The Exhibitionist Sam Shepard's <i>Buried Child</i> Comes Home to the Magic Theatre

Sam Shepard's Buried Child Comes Home to the Magic Theatre

Loretta Greco calls the Magic Theatre, where she is artistic director, "the house that Sam built," referring to Sam Shepard, who she considers America's greatest living playwright - possible the greatest of all time. So opening the season with Buried…
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Culture, Encore

Now Playing

The Aliens: Two young men in a New England town meditating on music, philosophy, drugs, and Bukowski find a disciple behind a coffeehouse. Tuesdays-Saturdays. Through May 5. $20-$70. SF Playhouse, 533 Sutter (at Powell), 677-9596. The Angry Geek Show: Stand-up…
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Culture, Stage "A Lie of the Mind": The Boxcar Takes on Sam Shepard's America

"A Lie of the Mind": The Boxcar Takes on Sam Shepard's America

The opening moments of A Lie of the Mind, now at the Boxcar, stand among the most intense in all of theater. Jake (a feral Joe Estlack) retches in the dark, then tries to pound off the wall the pay…
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Culture, The Exhibitionist Boxcar Digs Up Harsh Reality of Shepard's Haunting <i>Buried Child</i>

Boxcar Digs Up Harsh Reality of Shepard's Haunting Buried Child

Jeff Garret is probably too old to play Tilden, the most fragile character in Buried Child, now at the Boxcar Playhouse under the direction of Rebecca Longworth. Sam Shepard's Pulitzer Prize-winning script calls for an actor who looks to be…
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Film, "Blackthorn": Imagined Life of Butch Cassidy a Cinematic Lark

"Blackthorn": Imagined Life of Butch Cassidy a Cinematic Lark

Riffing on how outlaw Butch Cassidy's life might have gone had he survived in South America, this modest oater should tickle Western fans. (I assume there are a few of us left.) Blackthorn finds Cassidy (Sam Shepard) still in Bolivia,…
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Culture, Stagecap

Goldfish

Last year, when Loretta Greco was hired as artistic director for the Magic Theatre, she said she wanted to bring back some of the Sam Shepard-esque energy to its productions. With playwright John Kolvenbach's Goldfish, she (serving here as director…
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Culture, Encore

Also Playing

American Hwangap. Magic Theatre's artistic director, Loretta Greco, is very keen to compare American Hwangap and its Korean-American playwright, Lloyd Suh, to Sam Shepard and his plays of severe family dysfunction set on the edges of the American desert. It's…
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Culture, Stagecap

American Hwangap

Magic Theatre's artistic director, Loretta Greco, is very keen to compare American Hwangap and its Korean-American playwright, Lloyd Suh, to Sam Shepard and his plays of severe family dysfunction set on the edges of the American desert. It's quite a…
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Calendar, Night&Day <i>Dream of Life</i>

Dream of Life

If Patti Smith's narration to Dream of Life was simplified into a stanza, it might go something like this: As long as I can remember I sought to be free/Bob Dylan once tuned this guitar for me/My mission is to…
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Film, FilmCap

Patti Smith: Dream of Life

If Patti Smith's narration to Dream of Life were simplified into a stanza, it might go something like this: "As long as I can remember I sought to be free/Bob Dylan once tuned this guitar for me/My mission is to…
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News, Feature Magic Act

Magic Act

The Magic Theatre takes its name from a famous location in Herman Hesse's novel Steppenwolf: "Anarchist Evening at the Magic Theatre, for Madmen Only, Price of Admission Your Mind." For a while following its inception in 1967, San Francisco's new…
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Culture, Stagecap

Buried Child muffled by flawed sound design

Sam Shepard's Buried Child — which premiered at San Francisco's Magic Theatre in 1978 and won a Pulitzer the following year — begins as a Midwestern Gothic nightmare and ends with the rebirth of the heartland. In between, it tells…
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Calendar, Night&Day Play Right

Play Right

The annual Bay Area Playwright's Festival has nurtured some theatrical heavy-hitters since it was founded by director Robert Woodruff 30 years ago, including Sam Shepard, Mac Wellman, and Anna Deavere Smith. Festival alumni have gone on to win every major…
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Culture, Stagecap

Top Dog/Underdog

Suzan-Lori Parks took the sibling rivalry of Sam Shepard's True West and David Mamet's obsession with street-level hustle, added a dash of racial intrigue, and concocted a slightly derivative brew that was compelling enough to earn her the 2001 Pulitzer…
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Culture, Encore

Also Playing

Big Love. If Aeschylus and Karen O. had a baby, it might look something like FoolsFury's latest production. Charles Mee's fascinating text collage steals liberally from the old Greek's play The Suppliant Women, The Pillow Book of Sei Shonagon (from…
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Culture, Stagecap

God of Hell

Sam Shepard's overtly political new play has the same strengths and weaknesses as a punk song. It's an unrefined, passionate indictment of the current neo-conservative administration and a theatrical rallying cry that wants to expose pseudo-patriotic hypocrites. Yet its rushed…
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Calendar, Night&Day

Go to Hell

A direct rejoinder to the invasion of Iraq isn't a move you'd expect from playwright Sam Shepard, whose gritty, near-biblical take on the American West usually reveals more dark personal reflection than political tirade. All the same, Shepard's play The…
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