Serious clowning around in ACT’s Humor Abuse

Jan 19

Serious clowning around in ACT’s <i>Humor Abuse</i>

Now, apparently, it's time to hear from Bay Area sons.

At Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Jonathan Moscone (with an assist from Tony Taccone) is grappling with the loss and legacy of his father, slain San Francisco Mayor George Moscone, in Ghost Light. Now at American Conservatory Theater, Lorenzo Pisoni is recounting his childhood as the son of a clown, Pickle Family Circus' Larry Pisoni, in Humor Abuse.

Right at the top of this captivating 80-minue show, the younger Pisoni tells us flat out that he was raised to be his father's straight man. "I'm not funny," he says.

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Don Reed checks into The Kipling Hotel

Jan 05

Don Reed checks into <i>The Kipling Hotel</i>

I interviewed Don Reed about his new autobiographical solo show The Kipling Hotel, which opens this weekend at The Marsh Berkeley.

You can read the article here.

This is the second chapter in what will likely be a trilogy of solo shows about the Oakland native's life. The first was the phenomenally successful East 14th, which ran at The Marsh for 2 1/2 years – no mean feat for a guy who lives in Los Angeles and works as the warmup comedian for "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno."

Here's what didn't make the newspaper...

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Marga Gomez: So old, so funny

Sep 17

Marga Gomez: So old, so funny

Though hardly a senior citizen, Marga Gomez needs to talk about her age. That doesn't mean she'll tell you her age, but it does mean she'll regale you with her thoughts on the aging process for 80 minutes in her new solo theatrical venture, Not Getting Any Younger at The Marsh in San Francisco.

Probably best known as a stand-up comic, Gomez says she's considered a pioneer for being one of the first out lesbian comics. But she hates being called a pioneer because it makes her sound old – like she traveled to gigs in a covered wagon. But Gomez is a theatrical force as well. This is her ninth solo show, and if you've seen any of her previous theater work (especially the shows about her show-biz parents), you know how artfully she blends the high entertainment value of stand-up comedy with the more deeply felt levels of autobiographical storytelling.

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Weight and see: Don’t miss 40 Pounds

Feb 27

Weight and see: Don’t miss <i>40 Pounds</i>

They say you should never ask a lady about her weight. Well, Pidge Meade is a lady who freely talks about her weight – in fact she's written an entire solo show about it.

40 Pounds in 12 Weeks: A Love Story, now at The Marsh in San Francisco, is Meade's intimate, not to mention funny, moving and generally marvelous, account of being a formerly fat lady. One of her recurring characters is a carnival barker who keeps directing our attention to the exhibit of the formerly fat lady trying to navigate her way through difficult life situations such as basking in (too much?) attention at 20-year college reunion or going the metaphysical, from-the-inside-out route toward weight loss.

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Astride a sexy beast in Aurora’s Palomino

Nov 10

Astride a sexy beast in Aurora’s <i>Palomino</i>

David Cale is a perfectly attractive human being – he’s got great posture, a receding hairline and a beautifully expressive face. But once you fall under his spell as a storyteller – and you will fall under his spell – he becomes vivid, physically varied characters without doing much more than manipulating his mellifluous voice and holding his lean body differently.

Over the course of 95 minutes in the beguiling Palomino now at Berkeley’s Aurora Theatre Company, Cale becomes, among others, a sexy Irish horse-drawn carriage driver in his early 30s, an Australian widow in late middle age and a super-sexy blonde British babe.

And he’s utterly believable as all of them.

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