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    Culture, Stage

    It's a jungle out there

    It's hard to get a handle on The Dead Monkey, British playwright Nick Darke's voyeuristic peek at a dysfunctional Southern California couple, but I suspect that's exactly what the writer intends. You can almost hear him hovering in the background,…
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    Culture, Stage

    God-Awful & Divine

    Religious Experience Written and performed by Nancy Wright Cooper. Directed by Rick Phelps. At the Bindlestiff Playhouse, 185 Sixth St. Call 974-1167. May Day Sermon Performed by Bridget Hanley. Adapted and directed by John Gallogly from a poem by James…
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    Culture, Stage

    Dim Bulb

    Gaslight, the play by Patrick Hamilton (as opposed to the movie classic starring Charles Boyer and Ingrid Bergman), is ACT's final production at the Stage Door Theatre prior to the reopening of the Geary. As directed by Albert Takazauckas, it's…
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    Culture, Stage

    Curtain Calls

    Laundry and Bourbon & Lone Star Plays about Texas are a genre unto themselves, obsessed with excessive heat and endless complaints about same, the consumption of prodigious amounts of alcohol and folksy chat. Their characters -- named Ray or Cletis…
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    Culture, Stage

    Behind the Scenes

    Love! Valour! Compassion! By Terrence McNally. Directed by Warner Shook. At the Berkeley Repertory Theater, 2025 Addison, Berkeley, through Jan. 3. Call (510) 845-4700. There's a point in the second act of Berkeley Rep's lovingly rendered production of Love! Valour!…
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    Culture, Stage

    The Lady in Question

    Among the many questions that concern playwright Sara Felder in Theatre Rhinoceros' revival of The Lady Upstairs (directed by Mary Coleman) is: Can you mix screwball comedy and its conventions with ethical dilemmas about atomic physics and the persecution of…
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    Culture, Stage

    Cant Help Loving That Man

    Among the persistent images in The Sirens, Darrah Cloud's flawed but powerful new play in its world premiere at the Magic Theatre, are sunglasses. As worn by the battered women on whom this play focuses, they are not only masks…
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    Culture, Stage

    Heavenly

    Journey to the West Directed by Mary Zimmerman; adapted by her from the translation by Anthony C. Yu. Starring Jane C. Cho, Kim Miyori, Christopher Donahue, Nelson Mashita, and Doug Hara. Presented by Berkeley Repertory Theater at the Zellerbach Playhouse…
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    Culture, Stage

    Of Myth and Motown

    Static mixes with music as radio signals fade in, the lights come up on Homer G. & the Rhapsodies in the Fall of Detroit, and urban hip-hop dancers move casually to the sounds of WILL-FM -- broadcasting, we hear, from…
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    Culture, Stage

    Bloodless Revenge

    Revenge -- that most potent of dramatic incentives -- is what drives Euripides' Hecuba (430-424 BCE, Before the Common Era). For the ancient Greeks, revenge was largely a matter of logic and justice: Do unto others what they have done…
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    Culture, Stage

    New York, New York

    Forbidden Broadway Strikes Back! Written and directed by Gerard Alessandrini. At the Triad, 158 W. 72nd Street, New York City; call (212) 799-4599. Tubes By Blue Man Group. At the Astor Place Theater, 434 Lafayette, New York City; call (212)…
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    Culture, Stage

    The Nature of the Beast

    Among the problems of literature that can keep me entertained for hours is the question of what distinguishes one discipline from another. Why is a play such a wholly different animal from, say, a novel? And what happens when the…
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    Culture, Stage

    Image Is Everything

    It's tempting to focus on Oscar Wilde's wit in An Ideal Husband, his next-to-last play, and dwell on the repartee that served famously as his primary dramatic tool. Make no mistake: This comedy is replete with epigrams, puns, and just…
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    Culture, Stage

    Picks and Pits

    Go ahead, stroll casually into the Geary Theater, where American Conservatory Theater's rewarding production of Chekhov's The Cherry Orchard (directed by Barbara Damashek) has just opened, and try remaining indifferent to set designer Kate Edmunds' bold and provocative vision of…
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    Culture, Stage

    Shadow Plays

    Very little is more heartbreaking than the loss of a writer who showed every sign of growing into a major talent. Such was the case with John C. Russell, a New York playwright (whose Stupid Kids was produced by Smart…
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    News,

    Where Angels Fear to Tread

    The subject is marginalization, and writer Brian Bouldrey, whose literary identity seems as fused with Roman Catholicism as it is with being gay, has plenty to say. He's the author of a well-regarded first novel (The Genius of Desire; a…
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    Culture, Stage

    Compulsive Talkers

    Fast, funny, intelligent, and wise, Katy Hickman's Meteor Girl (premiered last year at the Solo Mio Festival and now reprised by the Encore Theatre Company) offers glimpses of three very different lives linked by the contrasting threads of desperation and…
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    Culture, Stage

    Strike Out

    From its haunting and provocative beginning to the apocalyptic earthquake at the end, Cherrie Moraga's Watsonville: Some Place Not Here challenges, taunts, inspires, and ultimately frustrates. As the inaugural production for the new Brava Theater Center, the play has a…
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    Culture, Stage

    Welcome to The Gap

    Henry IV, Part One, which chronicles a period of rebellion and unrest in medieval England, is a play edgy with anticipation. It's about waiting and planning, about promises kept and good faith destroyed. Though it's Shakespeare's most popular history play,…
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    Culture, Stage

    Siamese Dream

    Trying to cover the full range of Broadway theater in a mere three days is clearly impossible. Especially this season, which offers a smorgasbord of the old and the new: sturdy revivals (The King and I, A Funny Thing Happened…
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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

    Familia Ties

    Santos & Santos Presented by Campo Santo. Written by Octavio Solis. Directed by Tony Kelly. At New Langton Arts, 1246 Folsom, 550-7250. Take a play that burns with ambition, volatile language, and ideas; cast it with an exceptional ensemble of…
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    Culture, Stage

    By All Means

    I wonder if it's possible to separate Huey P. Newton the mythic icon from Huey P. Newton the character, as created from Newton's writing and performed by Roger Guenveur Smith. To be candid, I wonder if it's possible to review…
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    Culture, Stage

    Off-Balance

    Balancing Act Performed by Diane Amos. Written by Amos and Jim Medellin. Directed by MJ Pritchard. At the Marsh, 1062 Valencia. Call 826-5750. Falling somewhere between autobiographical performance art and a down-home evening with an old and treasured friend, Balancing…
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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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  • 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.'"

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