G-L-O-R-I-A! Gloria fascinates, frightens at ACT

Feb 27

G-L-O-R-I-A! <i>Gloria</i> fascinates, frightens at ACT

Branden Jacobs-Jenkins' Gloria is a fascinating play. It's a lively workplace comedy until it's an unsettling workplace drama. There's a sheen of satire to it but also reality and heart. There's a bracing boldness to it that makes its two hours fly by, and its path is never exactly what you think it will be.

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Life, death and more fill Will Eno’s Wakey, Wakey at ACT

Jan 30

Life, death and more fill Will Eno’s <i>Wakey, Wakey</i> at ACT

Will Eno is one of the most interesting playwrights in the theaterverse. He's weird and brilliant, funny and deeply humane. Because there can be an oblique and highly theatrical quality to his work, he has often been compared to Beckett, but for me, I feel more Thornton Wilder (somewhere between The Skin of Our Teeth and Our Town). He wrestles in creative and insightful and surprising ways with what it is to be alive and how we're all connected by the knowledge that none of us is getting out of here alive and that we could all probably be doing better when it comes to being aware of our lives as we're living them.

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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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White Noise shocks, ultimately disappoints at Berkeley Rep

Oct 04

<i>White Noise</i> shocks, ultimately disappoints at Berkeley Rep

Suzan-Lori Parks' White Noise is an intensely interesting play. Just not a very good one.

And that's surprising given that Parks, a Pulitzer Prize-winner, has bent, molded and shaped contemporary theater to her will through sheer force of intelligence, powerful writing and the courage to configure theater as she needs it to be configured.

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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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Berkeley Rep’s Great Wave crashes

Sep 20

Berkeley Rep’s <i>Great Wave</i> crashes

Director Mark Wing-Davey layers an intricate sound design (by Bray Poor and even more intricate projection design (by Tara Knight) onto the play in a way that makes it seem he doesn't fully trust Turnly or the actors enough to convey the emotional weight of the show. And he may be right.

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