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Fall Arts: Small Shows and Blockbusters Share Uncommon Ambition 

Wednesday, Sep 5 2012

The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity
Aurora Theatre CompanyAug. 24-Sept. 30 at the Aurora, 2081 Addison (at Shattuck), Berkeley. $32-$50; (510) 843-4822 or
SF Weekly's 2012 Best Theater Company opens its 21st season with Kristoffer Diaz's play about the most theatrical of subjects: professional wrestling — specifically, the racist caricatures it deploys to pique its fans' vilest impulses. To convincingly portray the competitors, who have names like "The Mace" or "Billy Heartland," actors Dave Maier, Tony Sancho, Beethoven Oden, and Nasser Khan have been working out twice a day and training with real pro wrestlers to learn moves like the powerbomb. "We have to train like athletes," says Sancho, "and then we have to perform like athletes."

A Pinoy Midsummer
Bindlestiff StudioSept. 6-15 at Bindlestiff Studio, 185 Sixth St. (at Howard), S.F. $10-$20;
Director Lorna Velasco's master's thesis for S.F. State marks the first time Bindlestiff Studio, the "epicenter of Filipino American performing arts in San Francisco," has produced Shakespeare, and the debut is a bold one. Velasco has adapted the play to include some Tagalog, and she also incorporates shadow puppetry, mask movement, and live Filipino music. She says that the connection between Shakespeare's Athenian characters and (some) Filipinos is obvious: They both believe in fairies.

Port Out, Starboard Home (P.O.S.H.)
foolsFURYSept. 7-23 at Z Space, 450 Florida St. (at Mariposa), S.F. $12-$35; (800) 838-3006 or
A cruise ship becomes a site for the breaking down and building up of society in the world premiere of Sheila Callaghan's new play, which she wrote specifically for this foolsFURY ensemble under the direction of Ben Yalom. foolsFURY, which specializes in physical theater, and Callaghan interviewed travelers and crew members on a cruise ship in Mexico to come up with a surreal satire that incorporates both dialogue and dance. You'll never feel the same about a piña colada.

Intersection for the Arts, Playwrights Foundation, and Erika Chong Shuch Performance Project Sept. 21-23 at Intersection for the Arts, 925 Mission (at Fifth St.), S.F. $10; 626-2787 or
This year, 17 plays by Erik Ehn are being produced in 17 different theaters across the country as part of Soulographie, "a durational performance event" that explores America's relationship to domestic and international genocides in the 20th century. Dogsbody, which stars Catherine Castellanos, Rami Margron, and Reggie D. White, focuses on the perspective of child soldiers. By juxtaposing a present war in Uganda and an imaginary war in Texas, the play asks a difficult question: Why do we fight atrocities against children in one place but not another?

Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson
SF PlayhouseOct. 9-Nov. 24 at SF Playhouse, 450 Post (at Mason), S.F. $30-$70; 677-9596 or
After its "most successful year ever," SF Playhouse inaugurates its 10th season in a new space one block away but with twice the seats. And what better way to christen the expansion than with an emo rock musical about our seventh president, who rose to power by being accessible to the common man and then, notoriously, expanded both his power and this country's borders once he got there. Jon Tracy directs and Ashkon Davaran stars as the politician-cum-rockstar.

The Book of Mormon
SHNNov. 27-Dec. 30 at the Curran Theatre, 445 Geary (at Mason), S.F. (888) 746-1799 or
Tickets will be expensive and hard to come by for the touring production of the Tony-sweeping Book of Mormon, but they'll be worth it. The musical, about two Mormon missionaries who get sent to Uganda, has all the irreverence you'd expect from South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone, who along with Robert Lopez wrote the book, music, and lyrics. But it also radiates real warmth and even respect for religion, even as its ensemble joyously sings, "Fuck God!" For those despairing of finding tickets, take heart in the words of Elder Price (Gavin Creel): "I am a Mormon, and Mormons just believe."

About The Author

Lily Janiak


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