Cricket tests history in ACT’s feisty Testmatch

Nov 08

Cricket tests history in ACT’s feisty <i>Testmatch</i>

You could say that Kate Attwell's Testmatch, the world premiere play at American Conservatory Theater's Strand Theater, is about cricket. You could also say it's about untangling the gnarly knots of history. But the impact, especially in the savvy way Attwell has constructed the play, comes from its emphasis on the deep interconnection of everything to everything.

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Churchill is tops in ACT’s Top Girls

Sep 26

Churchill is tops in ACT’s <i>Top Girls</i>

The mind of Caryl Churchill is an extraordinary place to spend an evening. Happily, this theater season, the Bay Area will see an abundance of Churchill, beginning with American Conservatory Theater's season-opening Top Girls from 1982.

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Pointed Rhinoceros stampedes the Geary stage

Jun 06

Pointed <i>Rhinoceros</i> stampedes the Geary stage

There are multiple points in human history when Eugène Ionesco's Rhinoceros would make for funny/terrifying entertainment. Unfortunately, this is one of them.

In Ionesco's 1959 play, a small French village is best by giant horned pachyderms. Or, more accurately, the citizens are, one by one, turning into beasts.

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Glorious Weightless soars back to SF

May 03

Glorious <i>Weightless</i> soars back to SF

Last year I fell in love with Weightless, the rock musical by The Kilbanes, when it had a triumphant world premiere at Z Space. The show had muscle and heart and passion and staggering beauty. The experience of watching the show was so thrilling it felt like something important was beginning – a new hit musical on its way along the lines of Hadestown or Once but on a slightly different scale, one that finds an intriguing balance between rock concert and rock musical.

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A non-traditional Vanity Fair bows at ACT

Apr 25

A non-traditional <i>Vanity Fair</i> bows at ACT

For their adaptation of William Makepeace Thackeray's 1848 novel Vanity Fair, writer Kate Hamill and director Jessica Stone do a little bit of cheating. Hamill has decided to liven things up by making this a play about a play about a novel. We are in American Conservatory Theater's Geary Theater, but on stage, we're told that our actual location is "Strand Musick Hall," and the opening number tells us that seven actors are going to play all the parts for the next 2 1/2 hours.

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ACT’s deep dive into Albee’s Seascape

Jan 31

ACT’s deep dive into Albee’s <i>Seascape</i>

As directing debuts go, Pam MacKinnon's for American Conservatory Theater is pretty auspicious. Her production of Seascape by Edward Albee is her first on the Geary Theater stage since taking over as artistic director last year. A Tony Award-winner (for Albee's 2012 revival of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?) who has worked on other Bay Area stages (Berkeley Rep, Magic), MacKinnon seems to have landed quite comfortably in the world of institutional regional theater.

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