Amazing women open doors in The Roommate

May 28

Amazing women open doors in <i>The Roommate</i>

There are several wonderful things about Jen Silverman's The Roommate now at San Francisco Playhouse, not the least of which is that it seriously considers the lives of two women in their 50s and their attempts to grow and change and correct what they perceive as some of the missteps of their lives. The nearly two-hour one-act play, directed by Becca Wolff, is also heartily entertaining, contains some satisfying laughs and creates a showcase for two dynamic actors to create complex characters that are full of surprises.

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TheatreFirst reveals short, powerful HeLa

May 23

TheatreFirst reveals short, powerful <i>HeLa</i>

Chances are good that, unlike so many scientists for so many years, you have heard of Henrietta Lacks, whether from Rebecca Skloots' best-selling book The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks or, more recently, the HBO movie based on the book starring Oprah Winfrey as Lacks' daughter Deborah. The story continues to be told, this time for the stage, in the world premiere play from TheatreFirst: HeLa by Bay Area playwrights Lauren Gunderson and Geetha Reddy.

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Peter Brook creates sacred space in Battlefield at ACT

May 04

Peter Brook creates sacred space in <i>Battlefield</i> at ACT

The elegance of simplicity creates space that allows for the profound reward of listening, truly listening. Peter Brook probably wouldn't want to be labeled a legendary director, but he is. His more than 70-year career is festooned with innovation, genius and the fascinating arc of an artist following his muse rather than his ego. In Battlefield, now at American Conservatory Theater's Geary Theater, the 92-year-old director achieves something sublime in its stripped-down beauty and incredibly moving in its poetic grappling with the meaning of life.

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A unique aural Encounter at the Curran

Apr 27

A unique aural <i>Encounter</i> at the Curran

Not to take anything away from Simon McBurney's rather extraordinary show The Encounter now at the Curran Theatre, but my first encounter with binaural sound at Disneyland remains my favorite.

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Splendid visuals in Lepage’s Needles and Opium at ACT

Apr 06

Splendid visuals in Lepage’s <i>Needles and Opium</i> at ACT

With Needles and Opium, writer, director and theatrical visionary Robert Lepage has created a show that will be remembered – not necessarily for what it's about but definitely for the way it looks.

What began as a 1991 one-man show performed by Lepage himself in his native Québec City has evolved into a theatrical marvel, the kind of show that creates one jaw-dropping image after another.

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Delight and loss dance through Magic’s Waltz revival

Mar 30

Delight and loss dance through Magic’s <i>Waltz</i> revival

Any of us would be lucky – beyond lucky – to be as loved as Paula Vogel's brother Carl. The Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright (who, after nearly 50 years as one of the country's preeminent playwrights, will see her first Broadway opening next month with Indecent) wrote The Baltimore Waltz a year after Carl died of complications from AIDS. This is her tribute to him, a love letter from sister to brother, but she accomplishes this with such offbeat originality, whimsy and heart that there's no room for sentimentality or feeble clichés about love and loss.

Celebrating its 50th anniversary, Magic Theatre has revived The Baltimore Waltz 25 years after hosting its West Coast premiere.

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