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Culture, The Exhibitionist <i>City of Angels</i>: Film Noir Musical Comedy at SF Playhouse

City of Angels: Film Noir Musical Comedy at SF Playhouse

A quartet starts the show by scatting in harmony. Nonsense “ba da da das” spill out of their mouths in unison. What starts as an ode to the Manhattan Transfer crescendos into a vocal evocation of a film noir symphonic…
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Culture, The Exhibitionist Anachronisms and Mysterious Strangers in <i>The Rules</i>, at the Sandbox Series

Anachronisms and Mysterious Strangers in The Rules, at the Sandbox Series

Dipika Guha’s play The Rules unearths a buried tome only to respond to it with a psychologically incoherent corrective. Over two million people bought a copy of The Rules, one of a series of New Age books that Americans went…
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Culture, The Exhibitionist San Francisco Playhouse Announces 2016-17 Season

San Francisco Playhouse Announces 2016-17 Season

Downtown S.F.'s only mid-sized venue…
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Culture, The Exhibitionist <i>Colossal</i>: Dancer from the Dance, at San Francisco Playhouse

Colossal: Dancer from the Dance, at San Francisco Playhouse

If you were going to write a play about improbable pairings, you could try golfing and Fauvism. Tennis and the sculpture of Alexander Calder. Or, as Andrew Hinderaker has managed in his play Colossal, football and dance. Hinderaker sketches…
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Culture, The Exhibitionist <i>The Nether</i>: The Lost Boys of Nether Nether Land

The Nether: The Lost Boys of Nether Nether Land

Around the halfway point of Jennifer Haley’s brisk 80-minute play The Nether, one of the characters recites a few lines from the Theodore Roethke poem “In a Dark Time”: “Dark, dark my light, and darker my desire./My soul, like…
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Culture, The Exhibitionist Some Enchanted Evening: Sarah Ruhl’s <i>Stage Kiss</i>

Some Enchanted Evening: Sarah Ruhl’s Stage Kiss

As you walk into the theater to find your seat before Stage Kiss begins, the sound system is playing popular songs from the 1930s. Bing Crosby croons out a duet with some forgotten chanteuse. On another track, the sound…
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Culture, Stage The Grand Reprise: Fall Theater Is Off to an Exceptional Start with Two Astonishing Returns

The Grand Reprise: Fall Theater Is Off to an Exceptional Start with Two Astonishing Returns

When San Francisco Playhouse created its Sandbox Series in 2009, the idea was to develop risky and, in some cases, unpolished plays through rehearsals, workshops, and a bare-bones production, thereby making those plays ready for the main stage season. Five…
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Culture, Stage Desperate Times: Female Playwrights Chronicle Painful Ordeals in Two of the Fiercest Plays in Town

Desperate Times: Female Playwrights Chronicle Painful Ordeals in Two of the Fiercest Plays in Town

At the close of Chasing Mehserle, a new play by Chinaka Hodge at Intersection for the Arts, the all-black ensemble clusters and speaks in unison: "My name is Oscar Grant. Please don't shoot." It could have been any of them,…
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Culture, Stage Heartbreak of Regularness: Neil LaBute Spreads the Pain

Heartbreak of Regularness: Neil LaBute Spreads the Pain

Reasons to Be Pretty, which opens this weekend at San Francisco Playhouse, is written by a man and follows a male character, yet its subject is womanhood, at least as our society defines it: how a woman's beauty is perceived,…
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Culture, Stage Locked In: Magic Theatre and SF Playhouse Break Cycles

Locked In: Magic Theatre and SF Playhouse Break Cycles

In the Magic Theatre's "rolling world premiere" production of Se Llama Cristina, written by Octavio Solis and directed by Loretta Greco, set designer Andrew Boyce so meticulously renders a landscape of poverty that, watching it, you feel cockroaches crawling on…
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Culture, The Exhibitionist <em>Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson</em>: Growing Pains for S.F. Playhouse

Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson: Growing Pains for S.F. Playhouse

Andrew Jackson, title character of San Francisco Playhouse's 10th season opener, doubled the size of the United States, and it's no coincidence that the theater company itself begins this anniversary season in a new space with twice the seats.…
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Calendar, Night&Day Doolittle, Too Late

Doolittle, Too Late

The most salient status symbols in the London of My Fair Lady aren’t walking sticks and pocket watches but diphthongs and fricative H’s. In the Lerner and Loewe musical, norms of speech are so codified by class that phonetics professor…
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Calendar, Night&Day Minimalism to the Max

Minimalism to the Max

"A country road. A tree. Evening." So go the opening stage directions of Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot, one of the most important plays of the 20th century. But if the set description seems minimal, Tides Theatre's interpretation of them…
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Calendar, Night&Day Family, Meet Train Wreck

Family, Meet Train Wreck

Becky Shaw is like a two-hour greatest hits album ... for a soap opera. Have a favorite cliché of the genre? You'll probably find it somewhere in Gina Gionfriddo's careening script. There's a well-to-do family that, upon the death of…
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Culture, Stage "Becky Shaw": SF Playhouse Finds Pleasure in Soapy Pain

"Becky Shaw": SF Playhouse Finds Pleasure in Soapy Pain

Becky Shaw, a regional premiere now at SF Playhouse, is like a two-hour greatest hits album ... for a soap opera. Have a favorite cliché of the genre? You'll probably find it somewhere in Gina Gionfriddo's careening script. There's a…
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Culture, Stage "Period of Adjustment": Romantic Holiday Comedy Achieves Lyrical Poignancy

"Period of Adjustment": Romantic Holiday Comedy Achieves Lyrical Poignancy

Comedy is not what we associate with Tennessee Williams. Sure, there are funny lines in A Streetcar Named Desire, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, and The Glass Menagerie. But what we cherish is the poetry with which characters convey…
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Calendar, Night&Day Light Is Heavy -- and Light Again

Light Is Heavy -- and Light Again

Comedy is not what we associate with Tennessee Williams. But Period of Adjustment, one of Williams' lesser-known plays, is every bit a comedy. A Christmas comedy. Could the master of lyrical poignancy succeed in a genre so foreign to his…
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Calendar, Night&Day Improvised Horror

Improvised Horror

Remember sitting in the dark with friends, turning off all the lights, and each of you adding parts to a bone-chilling story? Imagine doing that with a room full of people and with the help of the master-storytellers of the…
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Culture, Stage "Tigers Be Still": Hilarious Comedy Tinged with the Ache of Grief

"Tigers Be Still": Hilarious Comedy Tinged with the Ache of Grief

After she catches her fiancé sleeping with a podiatrist, Grace (Rebecca Schweitzer) spends her days cradling a bottle of Jack Daniel's on the couch. Occasionally she rouses herself to croon an off-key rendition of Bette Midler's "The Rose" into her…
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Culture, Stagecap

"Reborning": Theater Review

It seems wrong to describe a play that hinges on trauma, suffering, and creepily realistic infant dolls as hilarious, but Reborning is just that. At times sitcom-y, at others heavily symbolic, Reborning bandies between levity and loss without missing a…
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