tempest

‘The Tempest’ opens to thunderous applause

“The Tempest” is Shakespeare’s last play, and it’s his strangest. It dives headfirst into the stormy waters of magic, colonialism, the age of exploration and the dehumanization of enslaved people. Nancy Carlin’s production of this fascinating work, presented by the African-American Shakespeare Company in San Francisco, is fearless. It confronts Read More…

yeastnation

Rise of the yeast: ‘Yeast Nation’ triumphs at Ray of Light

The stage opens on a primordial ocean floor. A deep voice announces from the sky, “And now … the beginning of time.” A set of worn Grecian columns alongside deep-gray and purple bioluminescent monoliths surround the sociopolitical battleground of Earth’s first organisms. They are yeasts. And they sing. A yeast Read More…

ideation

SF Playhouse’s ‘Ideation’ fails to be fully realized

After a year’s worth of tweaking since its rough-draft debut, “Ideation” arrived at the San Francisco Playhouse on Saturday night for a maiden performance. In almost every sense, it’s a very minimalist production. This is clear upon entering the theater, where the audience is met with a sparse set — Read More…

MeowMeow_Pizazz

‘Meow Meow’ opens with a glitzy bang at Berkeley Rep

She’s performed all over the world from “Paris, Berlin, Istanbul, and now… Berkeley,” actress Meow Meow jests sarcastically. Berkeley Repertory Theatre’s season opener, “An Audience with Meow Meow,” written by and starring the international cabaret actress, singer and dancer opened last Friday with a glitzy bang — that is, a Read More…

Cock_Lois-Tema_Courtesy

‘Cock’ doesn’t need to go to great lengths to please

For a play with only a sandpit stage, burlap-lined chairs and four characters, Michael Bartlett’s “Cock” has a lot to crow about. Yes, its bold title is an attention-grabber, but the award-winning show, which made its West Coast premiere last weekend at the New Conservatory Theatre Center in San Francisco, Read More…

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SF Fringe Fest thrills despite minor theatrical missteps

‘Ballet Russe Spectacle Variete’ Before the show even started, the 10 actors involved in “Ballet Russe” commanded the tiny theater space. The elder characters, Sergei (Brian Mathis) and Natasha (Lori Saltis) greeted each audience member with stern admonitions to take a passport — the playbill — and a potato to Read More…

FSM_StagebridgeTheatre_Courtesy

FSM celebrated in world premiere of local play

“Students do have power, and people getting together do have power,” said Lynne Hollander of the Oakland-based production for the new play “FSM.” “I hope that showing people their history will help people to see this, to empower them.” This fall marks the 50th anniversary of the Free Speech Movement Read More…

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Feminist charm prevails in ‘Rapture, Blister, Burn’

Drawing on a timeline of works from Jean-Jacques Rousseau to Dr. Phil, Gina Gionfriddo’s play “Rapture, Blister, Burn” is a fireball of quick wit and high stakes around the most thoughtful exploration of what it means to be a woman with options in a society that makes one feel guilty Read More…