Campo Santo, Cal Shakes do some Califas dreaming

Nov 04

Campo Santo, Cal Shakes do some Califas dreaming

There's something extraordinary happening at Intersection for the Arts, and only part of it has to do with theater. Intersection, along with Campo Santo and California Shakespeare Theater have been partners for years, but their current collaboration is kind of staggering.

It began back last April with a production of Richard Montoya's The River directed by Campo Santo's Sean San José (read my review here) and continued with Cal Shakes' season opener, Montoya's American Night: The Ballad of Juan José in June starring San José and directed by Jonathan Moscone (read my review here).

Now we have the culmination of the collaboration in the Califas Festival, a multimedia exploration of what it means to be a Californian.

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Lust, lies and addiction fuel Shotgun’s Phaedra

Oct 07

Lust, lies and addiction fuel Shotgun’s <i>Phaedra</i>

The sensational zing of the Phaedra myth has always come from the incestuous relationship at the story's heart: Phaedra is secretly in love with her stepson, Hippolytus. When that love becomes less of a secret, tragedy ensues.

Everyone loves a titillating love story, especially when there's a taboo to be wrestled to the ground. Euripides apparently wrote two plays involving Phaedra, but only one, Hippolytus, survives. Then, in the late 17th century, Racine wrote a version of Phaedra that has aroused audience interest for more than 300 years. Eugene O'Neill had fun with the Phaedra story in his pulpy Desire Under the Elms, and now Adam Bock, one of North America's most intriguing playwrights, puts his own stamp on the tale.

Bock reunites with Berkeley's Shotgun Players for the world premiere of his Phaedra, and though Bock has a long history with Shotgun (his Swimming in the Shallows will always be a Shotgun highlight for me), this new drama finds him working in mature playwright mode, with echoes of Pinter and Albee bouncing through the silences and percolating under the familial tension.

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Entering heavenly Pastures

Jun 06

Entering heavenly <i>Pastures</i>

Spectacular things are happening at the Bruns Amphitheater – on stage and off.

At long last, California Shakespeare Theater is getting a performance venue worthy of its status as one of the Bay Area's foremost theater companies. Improvements to the Bruns include a new box office, new landscaping and, most importantly, a beautiful new 7,850-square-foot building to house its food operations and some spectacular bathrooms (if you ever used the bathrooms in the old endlessly "temporary" facility, you'll appreciate just how spectacular these new facilities really are).

The improvements aren't quite done yet, but they're already upping the ante on the Cal Shakes experience – and just in time for Artistic Director Jonathan Moscone's 10-year anniversary with the company.

So many things to celebrate ̶ not the least of which is the world-premiere production on the Bruns stage.

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Theater review: `Romeo and Juliet’

May 31

Opened May 30, 2009 at the Bruns Amphitheater Alex Morf and Sarah Nealis are the star-crossed young lovers in the California Shakespeare Theater’s season-opening production of Romeo and Juliet. Photos by Kevin Berne Youthful passion, ancient hate heat up Cal Shakes’ `R&J’««« ½ An explosion of color, violence and surprising beauty, the...

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Review: `The Triumph of Love’

Aug 12

Opened Aug. 11, 2007, Bruns Amphitheater, Orinda More love, less triumph in Cal Shakes-San Jose Rep co-production two [1/2] stars Romance trumps comedy In the theater, there’s nothing worse than feeling on the outside of a joke. Members of the audience chortle happily while you sit there stony faced and cranky wondering why the onstage antics delight some but...

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Review: `Richard III’

Jun 03

opened June 2, 2007, Bruns Amphitheater, Orinda Villainy rules in Cal Shakes’ masterful Richard III three [1/2] stars A Richard to remember This smart, funny man can’t be all bad, can he? When we meet the man who will become King Richard III in California Shakespeare Theater’s season-opening Richard III, we’re completely charmed by him. As he...

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