The Magic’s Lily blooms!

Apr 19

The Magic’s <i>Lily</i> blooms!

There’s a lot of excitement burbling through the Bay Area theater community this spring. One of the reasons is the Magic Theatre’s The Lily’s Revenge, a ballsy five-hour play by Stockton native Taylor Mac.

With five acts performed in five different styles – musical theater, dance, puppets, Elizabethan-style drama – the show has a cast of nearly 40 (all local, by the way) musicians, actors, dancers, acrobats, drag queens, etc. There are actually six directors – one for each act plus one to direct the intermission events between each act. This is definitely the biggest, boldest theatrical event of the spring.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Mac and Magic Theatre Artistic Director Loretta Greco for a feature in the San Francisco Chronicle. Read the feature here.

As usual, I couldn’t fit all the good stuff into the story. Here’s more with Taylor Mac.

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Marin’s Seagull: a Chekhovian reverie

Feb 02

Marin’s <i>Seagull</i>: a Chekhovian reverie

As long as we live in a world where celebrity and art continually clash, Anton Chekhov’s The Seagull will feel extraordinarily timely. And as long as people are restless, stingy and full of dreams, Chekhov will continue to offer extraordinary insight to his audiences.

It’s amazing that a flop play from 1896 has become such a resonant classic. From our perspective, Chekhov had the disadvantage of writing in Russian, which means his work has to be filtered through a translator/adaptor – and there have been some big names attached to that duty. Tennessee Williams did it with his “free adaptation” The Notebook of Trigorin. Playwrights Michael Frayn, Tom Stoppard and Christopher Hampton have all done it as well.

Now former Oregon Shakespeare Festival Artistic Director Libby Appel (working from a literal translation by Allison Horsley) brings us her version (a commission of OSF) in a world-premiere production at Marin Theatre Company under the direction of Jasson Minadakis.

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TheatreWorks’ slam-dunkin’ Donuts

Oct 11

TheatreWorks’ slam-dunkin’ <i>Donuts</i>

I guess I shouldn't be surprised that Leslie Martinson, director of Superior Donuts, should bring together such good actors. Martinson is also the company's casting director and has been with TheatreWorks for 26 years. Some directors say that casting is more than 50 percent of directing, and that's probably true for Martinson, though she's clearly a solid director (I loved her Theophilus North three years ago).

Howard Swain stars as donut shop owner Arthur Przybyszewski, an aging hippie who can't really be bothered by life, which he describes as "a derailment." He runs his shabby donut shop and doesn't much care that the new Starbucks across the street is killing his business. For him, the business has been dead for years. Swain conveys Arthur's detachment while making us care about him. Arthur has made some rough decisions in his life, and his troubled relationship with his now-dead father complicate his emotional life as well as his relationships with his own fractured family.

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Oh, Brothers — an ode to Julia Brothers

Feb 01

  Julia Brothers floors ‘em in Joel Drake Johnson’s The First Grade at Berkeley’s Aurora Theatre Company. Rebecca Schweitzer is in the background. Photo by David Allen   The Bay Area is blessed with an abundance of theatrical talent. Spend any time at all in local theaters, and that becomes clear pretty quickly. What’s even better is...

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A note to readers

Mar 28

After three months on hiatus, Theater Dogs is once again back in action! I was in Sacramento working for an excellent newspaper, but now I’m back in San Francisco and happily on the theater beat once again. At the risk of sounding sappy, can I just say how much I missed it? Oh, I saw some good theater: August Wilson’s Gem of the Ocean at Sacramento...

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Review: `Evie’s Waltz’

Nov 17

EXTENDED THROUGH DEC. 21! The cast of the Magic Theatre’s Evie’s Waltz includes, from left, Marielle Heller, Darren Bridgett and Julia Brothers. The Carter W. Lewis play continues through Dec. 7. Photos by www.davidallenstudio.com.   Tension mounts in Lewis’ modern `Waltz’««« ½   Carter W. Lewis’ Evie’s Waltz, now at San...

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