Enter Stage Left: SF theater history on film

Oct 03

Enter <i>Stage Left</i>: SF theater history on film

Docuemntary film director/producer Austin Forbord (below right) has created a fascinating documentary about the history of San Francisco theater from the post-World War II days up to the present. The movie has its premeire at the Mill Valley Film Festival this week and will likely see wider release soon after.

I interviewed Forbord for a story in the San Francisco Chronicle. You can read the story here.

Read More

This Composer really is dead

Dec 03

This <i>Composer</i> really is dead

There’s a moment of absolute magic in the world premiere of Lemony Snicket’s The Composer Is Dead now at Berkeley Repertory Theatre.

We’ve just been subjected to a rather dispiriting film (more on that in a minute), a sort of theatrical appetizer, and we’re making the transition into the main course. The curtain on the Roda Theatre rises to reveal an absolutely magnificent set that looks like a life-size Victorian paper theater.

There’s an orchestra full of puppets – each personality-infused face affixed to a representation of an instrument – and Geoff Hoyle (the only human in the show) as the Inspector in a fantastic plaid suit preparing to solve the crime of who murdered the world’s greatest, formerly living composer.

The reveal of the set in all its glory is by far the best part of this strangely moribund evening. The show, including the movie, is just over an hour, and yet it seems much longer.

Read More