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Thursday, June 9, 2016

Ride The Village Bike, Ride Becky Ride

Posted By on Thu, Jun 9, 2016 at 1:30 PM

Kevin Clarke as Oliver, Elissa Stebbins as Becky - PAK HAN
  • Pak Han
  • Kevin Clarke as Oliver, Elissa Stebbins as Becky
Are you daydreaming about having an affair? Or are you already embroiled in the sticky business of it? Is the illicit thrill worth upending a marriage? Is your sense of reason all fogged in? What will it take for the brain to exert its will over your errant and wayward body? In Penelope Skinner’s play The Village Bike, the besotted heroine, intent on enjoyment, avoids asking herself any of these questions. If she had done, the playwright herself implies, she might have prevented a great deal of hurt and deceit.

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The Dream of Flight in For Peter Pan on her 70th Birthday

Posted By on Thu, Jun 9, 2016 at 1:16 PM

(l to r) Ellen McLaughlin (Wendy) and Kathleen Chalfant (Ann) in Sarah Ruhl’s For Peter Pan on her 70th birthday at Berkeley Rep. - KEVIN BERNE/BERKELEY REPERTORY THEATRE
  • Kevin Berne/Berkeley Repertory Theatre
  • (l to r) Ellen McLaughlin (Wendy) and Kathleen Chalfant (Ann) in Sarah Ruhl’s For Peter Pan on her 70th birthday at Berkeley Rep.
If you were watching For Peter Pan on Her 70th Birthday through a lens, it would be set to soft focus. There’s a feathery moire effect around the edges of Sarah Ruhl’s memory play. Kathleen Chalfant is the 70-year-old Ann who, as a girl, played Peter Pan in her small town theater. Chalfant’s commanding, husky voice is a welcome antidote to the mist of sentiment that rains down on the story like so much fairy dust.

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Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Hybrid Place, Hybrid Play: We Players’ Ondine at Sutro Baths

Posted By on Tue, May 5, 2015 at 11:00 AM


In the margin between the white lines on the asphalt parking lot and the wild crash of the sea on the west side of San Francisco lie the ruins of the Sutro Baths, created by millionaire and former mayor Adolph Sutro in 1896. Once the world’s largest indoor swimming complex, a fire in 1966 left behind only a skeletal footprint of the edifice. Now grown over with grasses and brush, the concrete walls are crumbling alongside the natural erosion of the cliff faces, leaving the twist of metal rods to tarnish in the salt air. Like many publicly accessible park reserves, the space falls between nature and culture, and it is here that We Players sets their production of Jean Giraudoux’s Ondine, co-directed by Carly Cioffi and Ava Roy, on view through June 7. Putting the audience on the same footing as its players, the production is partly a hike through the park grounds, partly an escape to a fantasy world of knights and water nymphs that constantly comments on the brutal intrusion of reality within the constructed universe of dreams.

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Thursday, March 26, 2015

New Conservatory Theater Announces Fab New Season

Posted By on Thu, Mar 26, 2015 at 12:16 PM

Avenue Q
  • Avenue Q

The food was great and the wine flowed as the venerable New Conservatory Theatre held an elegant soiree to announce its 2015-2016 season. 

NCT founder/artistic director Ed Decker took to the stage to address/entertain the crowd, leaving some to wonder why he wasn't pursuing a career in stand-up. "I need my medicine," he said gleefully, as he poured himself a drink. He held up his flask for all to see. "It's the best self-help guide," he said. "Girl, heal thyself!"

Decker could have taught Neil Patrick Harris a thing or two about hosting the Oscars!

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Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Astounding Antigonick at Berkeley's Shotgun Players

Posted By on Wed, Mar 25, 2015 at 10:38 AM

Kenny Toll as Guard, Rami Margron as Antigone, photo by Pak Han
  • Kenny Toll as Guard, Rami Margron as Antigone, photo by Pak Han

No curtain hides the long, curved lick of bare wood that forms the set of the Shotgun Players’ production of Antigonick. Made of light, long planks, it swerves from the floor up to the top of the theater like an asymptotic bowling alley, a daredevil’s roller derby jump, an echo chamber, an arena turned on its side. It might be playful, were it not for the figure of a dead horse suspended perilously over the stage by ropes lashed about its belly. Before the play begins, under interrogation-bright lights, barefoot Nick (Parker Murphy) in tight white jeans revolves slowly upstage right. The message seems clear: no tricks to taint this scene.

Antigonick is Sophocles’ Greek tragedy Antigone, the story of a woman’s determination to honor her dead brother against the will of the state, retold by the poet Anne Carson. In Carson’s version, the words are handwritten in all caps, with illustrations by Bianca Stone printed on vellum, that translucent paper that used to be made from the skin of a calf. Like many of Carson’s recent works, Antigonick is a beautiful object as well as a text. It is called a translation, though it choirs with Hegel and Beckett and Virginia Woolf.

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Friday, October 10, 2014

Shocktoberfest 15: Halloween Every Weekend

Posted By on Fri, Oct 10, 2014 at 1:00 PM

Thrillpeddlers is back with their annual Shocktoberfest. This is the 15th edition of the scary, funny, and popular festival which harkens back to those wonderful spook shows that filled theaters during the 19th century.

Shocktoberfest 15 has been dubbed The Bloody Debutante, and it promises to be an extravaganza of terror and titillation. The show previews tonight and officially opens on Saturday, Oct. 11. 

Russell Blackwood, director of two of the evening's short but scary offerings, chatted with SF Weekly about a grand old theatrical tradition which rises from the grave every year in San Francisco. 

SF Weekly: Can you explain for newbies exactly what Shocktober Fest is?

Blackwood: Shocktoberfest is Thrillpeddler's annual pageant of terror and titillation, celebrating the theatrical genre of Grand Guignol. Now in it's 15th year, ours is the longest-running festival dedicated to the theater of sex and death.

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  • clipping at Brava Theater Sept. 11
    Sub Pop recording artists 'clipping.' brought their brand of noise-driven experimental hip hop to the closing night of 2016's San Francisco Electronic Music Fest this past Sunday. The packed Brava Theater hosted an initially seated crowd that ended the night jumping and dancing against the front of the stage. The trio performed a set focused on their recently released Sci-Fi Horror concept album, 'Splendor & Misery', then delved into their dancier and more aggressive back catalogue, and recent single 'Wriggle'. Opening performances included local experimental electronic duo 'Tujurikkuja' and computer music artist 'Madalyn Merkey.'"