Realistic portrait of the abstract artist in SF Playhouse’s Bauer

Mar 23

Realistic portrait of the abstract artist in SF Playhouse’s <i>Bauer</i>

A mysterious chapter in modern art history receives some theatrical exploration in the world premiere of Lauren Gunderson's Bauer at San Francisco Playhouse. If you've never heard of the abstract painter Rudolf Bauer, whom some considered a genius beyond contemporaries like Kandinsky and Klee, that may have something to do with the fact that the Guggenheim Museum in New York, which was built to display his work, kept them instead in the basement out of public view.

That's one of the issues addressed in Bauer, a three-person drama by Gunderson, San Francisco's most prolific and produced playwright.

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Aaron Loeb wins Glickman for Ideation

Jan 28

Aaron Loeb wins Glickman for <i>Ideation</i>

Ideation was a good idea from the start.

Berkeley-based playwright Aaron Loeb is the winner of the 2013 Glickman Award for the best new play to premiere in the San Francisco Bay Area. Loeb won for Ideation, which had its premiere last fall at San Francisco Playhouse as part of the company's "Sandbox Series" for new work.

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Complex Jerusalem unfolds at SF Playhouse

Jan 26

Complex <i>Jerusalem</i> unfolds at SF Playhouse

San Francisco Playhouse deserves tremendous credit for tackling Jez Butterworth's Jerusalem, a multi-award-winning play in London and New York whose success hinged, in large part, on a central performance by Mark Rylance, one of our greatest working actors.

Minus Rylance's dazzle, the rambling, shambling play must stand on its own, and there's not much there there, to paraphrase Gertrude Stein.

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Say amen – SF Playhouse takes it to Church

Dec 06

Say amen – SF Playhouse takes it to <i>Church</i>

In many ways, John Patrick Shanley's Storefront Church, now at San Francisco Playhouse for a well-timed holiday run, is less about the battle between the material world and the spiritual world and more about finding the most personal of solutions to the stress and pull and darkness of life: being still.

In such a hectic world, stillness seems practically revolutionary, but that's where the Rev. Chester Kimmich (Carl Lumbly) finds himself: in stillness waiting for an answer or a way to cross the giant black hole that has opened up before him.

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Here’s an idea: go see SF Playhouse’s Ideation. Now.

Nov 22

Here’s an idea: go see SF Playhouse’s <i>Ideation</i>. Now.

Don't you love it when a new play starts out and you really like it, then it turns into something else and you like it even more? That's what happens with Ideation, a world-premiere play by local scribe Aaron Loeb that is part of San Francisco Playhouse's Sandbox Series, an incubator for new plays.

As new plays, Ideation is in remarkably good shape primarily because Loeb's writing is so smart, sharp and full of grounding humor. It also helps that director Josh Costello has ...

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Joseph’s Bengal Tiger prowls the SF Playhouse stage

Oct 06

Joseph’s <i>Bengal Tiger</i> prowls the SF Playhouse stage

The last time San Francisco Playhouse produced a play by Rajiv Joseph -- Animals Out of Paper in 2009 -- the young playwright was becoming one of the hottest writers in the country. TheatreWorks produced his The North Pool in 2011, just as his Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo was preparing to bow on Broadway in a starry production that featured Robin Williams as the titular caged beast.

Joseph, with his Tony Award and Pulitzer nominations, has fully emerged as an American playwright of note and his work is back at San Francisco Playhouse to launch a new season, the second in the stellar theater on Post Street.

In Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo, Joseph has crafted a challenging war/ghost story that wrestles with the very notion of god (or, if you prefer, God).

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