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Culture, Stage Bardy Music: A Musical Rendition of Shakespeare Strikes Gold

Bardy Music: A Musical Rendition of Shakespeare Strikes Gold

Resisting the temptation to cast all-male or all-female players in a play that often receives gender-bending casting, director Jon Tracy shakes up William Shakespeare's Twelfth Night with an all-musical ensemble. Wielding banjos, guitars, washboards, accordions, violins, drums, and other instruments,…
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Culture, Stage Toe-to-Toe: A Small Dancer Swallows a Heavyweight Champ Whole

Toe-to-Toe: A Small Dancer Swallows a Heavyweight Champ Whole

In Tough, dance artist Chris Black's portrayal of John L. Sullivan isn't exactly straight out of central casting. She's 9 inches shorter than the swaggering, loutish turn-of-the-century heavyweight boxing champ was, and about half his weight; Black's waist is the…
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Culture, Stage Sketchy: A New Show from a Veteran Performer Doesn't Quite Capture the Full Picture

Sketchy: A New Show from a Veteran Performer Doesn't Quite Capture the Full Picture

In Each and Every Thing, his new solo show at the Marsh, Dan Hoyle lodges complaints that most of us, save the most zealous techies, can't help but share. Digital connections, he laments, thwart real, meaningful ones in myriad ways:…
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Culture, Stage Nickled and Dimed: A Classic Play About a Conniving Junk-Store Owner Finds New Footing

Nickled and Dimed: A Classic Play About a Conniving Junk-Store Owner Finds New Footing

Profane poetry and the art — or lack thereof — of the superior swindle are playwright David Mamet's domain. Whether you judge the Pulitzer Prize-winning Chicago native fearless or faulty, Mamet's ear for the rhythm and texture of lowlife American…
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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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Culture, Stage Creek Coming-of-Age: A Teen Grows Up Fast With Her Feet Submerged in Berkeley History

Creek Coming-of-Age: A Teen Grows Up Fast With Her Feet Submerged in Berkeley History

Navel-gazing gains novelty in Shotgun Players' Daylighting: The Berkeley Stories Project, a new play written by Dan Wolf and directed by Rebecca Novick. Three years' worth of Berkeley stories — collected on city streets, in hills and parks, under bridges,…
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Culture, Stage Spicing It Up: Theatre of Yugen Inverts Its Process for a New Noh-Inspired Show

Spicing It Up: Theatre of Yugen Inverts Its Process for a New Noh-Inspired Show

This Lingering Life, which opens this week, is a departure for playwright Chiori Miyagawa and producing company Theatre of Yugen. The Mission District-based ensemble, now in its 35th year and whose members have been studying together for up to 20…
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Culture, Stage The Price of Everything: Tony Kushner Writes an Epic for the Stage

The Price of Everything: Tony Kushner Writes an Epic for the Stage

Behemoth in duration(nearly four hours), Pulitzer-award winning playwright Tony Kushner's long-awaited West Coast premiere, The Intelligent Homosexual's Guide to Capitalism and Socialism with a Key to the Scriptures, clutches in its literary grasp everything from George Bernard Shaw (Shaw wrote…
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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 Bacchanal: The Stage Becomes the Dancefloor in a Paris-to-S.F. Playwright Exchange

Bacchanal: The Stage Becomes the Dancefloor in a Paris-to-S.F. Playwright Exchange

In the theater world, new-play festivals tend to be bare-bones readings (think stools and music stands) of hit-or-miss works. The now-in-progress Des Voix Festival, however, is, for one evening, more similar to a nightclub. The Bal Littéraire, in which playwright-actors…
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Culture, Stage Listen Up: Berkeley Rep Sounds Off on Deaf Culture and Family Dysfunction

Listen Up: Berkeley Rep Sounds Off on Deaf Culture and Family Dysfunction

Words are everywhere and nowhere in Berkeley Rep's Tribes. Bound in the books spilling off scenic designer Todd Rosenthal's towering bookshelves, splashing themselves in subtitles across the set, pouring out in a cacophony from the verbose British family around which…
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Culture, Stage I Do: New Conservatory and the Thrillpeddlers Put Fresh Spins on the Nuptial Tradition

I Do: New Conservatory and the Thrillpeddlers Put Fresh Spins on the Nuptial Tradition

If you attempt to resist the steamrolling charm of New Conservatory Theatre Center's Standing on Ceremony: The Gay Marriage Plays, you're not just hardening your heart — you're missing out on the way tenderness can work as activism, on the…
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Culture, Stage Rise of the White Male Weenie: With "Silicon Valley," Mike Judge's Underdogs Finally Take Over

Rise of the White Male Weenie: With "Silicon Valley," Mike Judge's Underdogs Finally Take Over

If ever there was a champion for the American beta male — nay, omega male — which is to say, a champion for the probably least-championable class of American, it would be Mike Judge. He's practically been an anthropologist moving…
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Culture, Stage Salvage at Last: Shotgun Players Arrives at Its Final Stoppard Frontier

Salvage at Last: Shotgun Players Arrives at Its Final Stoppard Frontier

Art and politics are bedfellows in Shotgun Player's presentation of Salvage, the third play in Tom Stoppard's Tony Award-winning trilogy, The Coast of Utopia. Brave in scope, anchored by the human desire to escape ideological oppression, the production grapples with…
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Culture, Stage She-Wolf: Bay Area Native and Comedian Chelsea Peretti Talks Oakland vs. San Francisco

She-Wolf: Bay Area Native and Comedian Chelsea Peretti Talks Oakland vs. San Francisco

Full moons don't transform Chelsea Peretti into a wolf. Sometimes, all it takes is an annoying Twitter comment. Enter "Wolf Mode"— a highly intense state of spiritual unrest when Peretti assumes the perspective of the wild creature, posting all-caps tweets…
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Culture, Stage Liar, Liar: ACT and 99 Stock Deceive Audiences, But to Very Different Effects

Liar, Liar: ACT and 99 Stock Deceive Audiences, But to Very Different Effects

Venus in Fur, now at ACT, is an exercise in endurance for actors. The two characters, director Thomas (Henry Clarke) and actor Vanda (Brenda Meaney), never get to leave the stage for the show's running time, and they are relieved…
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Culture, Stage Anarchists, Terrorists, Maniacs, Oh My!: Berkeley Rep's Latest Skewers the Justice System

Anarchists, Terrorists, Maniacs, Oh My!: Berkeley Rep's Latest Skewers the Justice System

With goofy songs and the sarcasm of a previous age, Berkeley Rep's Accidental Death of an Anarchist brings out the shears. Splicing bureaucratic flab with comedic derision, playwright Dario Fo's farce rips every tickle and terrible truth from the real…
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Culture, Stage Gut Reactions: Z Space and Impact Compel Crying and Hurling from Their Captive Audiences

Gut Reactions: Z Space and Impact Compel Crying and Hurling from Their Captive Audiences

The plot of Hundred Days, an "indie rock opera" now at Z Space, could not be simpler. Boy meets girl. Boy marries girl. Boy gets sick and dies. Girl leaves their self-made citadel and re-enters the world. But if that…
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Culture, Stage The Undergroundlings: <i>Bitch and Tell </i> Heralds a Comeback for Highbrow Comic Variety Shows

The Undergroundlings: Bitch and Tell Heralds a Comeback for Highbrow Comic Variety Shows

A variety show could hardly be truer to the genre than Bitch and Tell, a Footloose production now in its fourth iteration at the Garage. The event features a stand-up comic (Paco Romane), circus performers (Genie Cartier and Audrey Spinazola,…
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Culture, Stage Singing the Climax: A New Musical Theater Company Launches with a Show About a Nymphomaniac's Lawsuit

Singing the Climax: A New Musical Theater Company Launches with a Show About a Nymphomaniac's Lawsuit

In 2012, after conceiving the idea of creating a musical theater company telling only Bay Area stories, Tony Asaro was sitting at his computer searching for alluring, culturally relevant stories for the theater's first musical production. Gazing at the Google…
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