ACT’s Perloff aims Higher

Feb 06

ACT’s Perloff aims <i>Higher</i>

This is the season for artistic directors sharing their writing with their audiences. Tony Taccone at Berkeley Repertory Theatre has actually done it twice this season with Rita Moreno: Life Without Makeup and the current Ghost Light.

Now American Conservatory Theater's Carey Perloff is sharing her fourth full-length play as a special non-subscription production at the Theater at the Children's Creativity Museum (formerly Zeum). In both cases, the artistic directors are making bold moves to put their work out there -- a brave gesture, to say the least. And they've both wisely handed over the directorial reins to trusted cohorts. In Taccone's case it's Jonathan Moscone and in Perloff's case, it's ACT Associate Artistic Director Mark Rucker.

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Laughs of a Lifetime in ACT’s season opener

Sep 29

Laughs of a <i>Lifetime</i> in ACT’s season opener

American Conservatory Theater opens the season with a play that only American Conservatory Theater could do. And I mean really do – the way it should be done.

The play is George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart’s Once in a Lifetime, a 1930 comedy that seems oh so very jaded about the new Gold Rush represented by the advent of talking pictures. What’s funny is that all the trashing of Hollywood types – dimwitted performers, egomaniacal studio heads, apoplectic directors, long-suffering writers – is so disdainful. But at the time of the play’s premiere on Broadway, The Jazz Singer, the first big hit movie with sound, was only three years old!

What’s more, all those stereotypes feel strangely current, as if absolutely nothing in the Hollywood world had changed, but instead of the frenzy over sound, we have frenzy over CGI and gazillion-dollar budgets and opening weekend grosses. Turns out has been a laughingstock, especially to legit stagefolk, for more than 80 years.

Once in a Lifetime is full of old-fashioned pleasures, and by old-fashioned I don’t mean quaint or sentimental.

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ACT’s MFA students frolic in kiddie Litter

Mar 07

ACT’s MFA students frolic in kiddie <i>Litter</i>

It’s a busy late winter for San Francisco playwright Peter Sinn Nachtrieb, and the busy-ness has a lot to do with unusual births.

?Later this month at the Humana Festival of New Plays at Actors Theatre of Louisville, Nachtrieb will premiere BOB, an “epic journey in just five acts” about a man born in a White Castle bathroom.

Closer to home, Nachtrieb is upping the baby ante but in only one act. Litter: The Story of the Framingham Dodecatuplets was written for the 12 students of American Conservatory Theater’s Master of Fine Arts Program Class of 2011. The comedy, complete with original songs, had its world premiere over the weekend at the Zeum Theater.

If you know Nachtrieb from his plays boom or Hunter Gatherers, you know that he is, in a word, hilarious. His comedy has edge and it can be heartfelt. He can slice you up and make it seem like the nicest possible thing to do.

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Theater Dogs changes, Cal Shakes’ Cowardly courage

Jul 18

Consistency is the last refuge of the unimaginative. – Oscar Wilde What a tumultuous year it has been here at Theater Dogs. Thank you for taking the ride. The news is that I have jumped the fence, from writing about theater to working in theater. As the new communications manager for Berkeley Repertory Theatre, I find that I can no longer review Bay Area...

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Review: `Twelfth Night’

Sep 14

  Alex Morf (left) is Viola disguised as Cesario and Stephen Barker Turner is Count Orsino in the California Shakespeare Theater’s season-ending production of Twelfth Night. Photos by Kevin Berne   Director’s vision weighs heavily on Cal Shakes’ `Twelfth Night’««   It’s not often you leave a Shakespeare play and feel like...

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Cal Shakes announces ’09 season

Sep 10

As the California Shakespeare Theater heads into its final show of the season (Twelfth Night), artistic director Jonathan Moscone has announced next summer’s line-up. The season will mark Moscone’s 10th anniversary heading Cal Shakes, and he will direct Romeo and Juliet and Samuel Beckett’s Happy Days starring Marsha Mason(right) in her Cal Shakes...

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