Holy Zuzu’s petals! Get into the spirit with Wonderful Life

Dec 06

Holy Zuzu’s petals! Get into the spirit with <i>Wonderful Life</i>

At a certain point, no matter how much you love Dickens or get your heart cockles warmed by Scrooge and Tiny Tim, you've had it. Enough already with A Christmas Carol. Some years you just need to take a Carol break and find a little holiday spark elsewhere.

This year, if you're searching for an alternative to Ebenezer and his ghosts, I recommend you head to Marin Theatre Company and spend some time with George Bailey and Clarence, his Angel Second Class. It's a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play takes Frank Capra's much loved 1946 film and turns it into a stage experience by transforming it into a radio play. As re-conceived by Joe Landry, we're in a Manhattan radio station on a snowy Christmas Eve as five actors play all the roles and create all the sound effects for a streamlined version of Capra's story.

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TheatreWorks offers Variations on a scheme

Oct 07

TheatreWorks offers <i>Variations</i> on a scheme

When Moisés Kaufman gets to the point in his play 33 Variations, there's resonance, beauty and purpose in it. For nearly 2 ½hours we've been tracking parallel stories: one in the present as a terminally ill musicologist delves into the mystery of why Beethoven wrote 33 variations on a waltz theme by music publisher Anton Diabelli. And the other in the early 19th century as we watch Beethoven, his health and hearing failing him, tackle major late-career works (his Mass, his Ninth Symphony) all while succumbing to an obsession with the Diabelli variations. The two stories do fuse in an interesting way eventually as issues of time, mortality and attention to detail bridge past and present while offering a spark of inspiration and insight into the nature of obsession.

Kafuman's 2007 drama, produced by TheatreWorks and directed by Artistic Director Robert Kelley, takes its time getting to the point. Kelley's production is thoroughly enjoyable and features some sharp performances, but the play itself doesn't cut very deep, and the whole past/present cohabiting the stage thing doesn't really work. In the crudest of terms, the play is an uneasy mash-up of Wit and Amadeus.

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Michael Gene Sullivan rouses the theatrical rabble

Oct 11

Earlier this week I attended the Theatre Bay Area Annual Conference, and amid much useful information about the state of local and national theater, and in between the networking and general schmoozing, I heard a voice of startling sanity. Michael Gene Sullivan, a local writer/actor/director, gave the closing inspirational speech, and it was a doozy. Sullivan, in...

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Review: `Red State’

Jul 05

Opened July 4 in Dolores Park The cast of the San Francisco Mime Troupe’s Red State includes (from left) Lisa Hori-Garcia, Lizzie Calogero, Robert Ernst and Adrian C. Mejia. Photos by David Allen Great songs make Mime Troupe’s `Red State’ sing«««  This Fourth of July, at the premiere of SF Mime Troupe’s latest opus, Red State,...

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