Crazy about Guirgis’ Riverside at ACT

Sep 10

Crazy about Guirgis’ <i>Riverside</i> at ACT

There's a crackling vitality on stage the Geary Theater as American Conservatory Theater opens its 49th season with Stephen Adly Guirgis' Between Riverside and Crazy. The play is this year's Pulitzer Prize winner, which doesn't necessarily guarantee it will be an interesting play, but if you've seen any of Guirgis' previous work – produced locally by San Francisco Playhouse and Custom Made Theatre Company – you know that this is a muscular, compassionate and deeply interesting writer.

If Riverside isn't as gritty as some of his other work, it more than makes up for that with its fresh approach to the classic American dream-type play.

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Yo, Mofo! SF Playhouse tips a mighty fine Hat

Feb 06

Yo, Mofo! SF Playhouse tips a mighty fine <i>Hat</i>

[warning: this review does not hide or disguise the word "motherfucker" in the title of the play at hand]

The comedy, the intensity and all that rough language keeps things skittering right along in the San Francisco Playhouse production of The Motherfucker with the Hat by Stephen Adly Guirgis. The play is this rush of plot and character and language, then the sadness and despair lands. It takes Lionel Richie and the Commodores to underscore it, but man oh man is it there.

In so many ways, Gurigis' Hat is about growing up, about taking yourself and the world you live in seriously enough to find purpose and pursue it with as much discipline as you can muster. The grown-ups in the play, let it be said, don't do such a good job on the discipline part, although most of them have (or find) some degree of purpose.

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Life is hell for Jerry Springer and Judas Iscariot

Oct 01

Life is hell for <i>Jerry Springer</i> and <i>Judas Iscariot</i>

There are some wonderfully theatrical theological discussions going on around town these days. At the Victoria Theatre in the Mission, outlandish talk show host Jerry Springer is facilitating a conflict resolution session between Satan and Jesus in Ray of Light Theatre’s Jerry Springer the Opera. And the Custom Made Theatre Company is delving deep into notions of Judeo-Christian forgiveness and despair in Stephen Adly Guirgis’ The Last Days of Judas Iscariot. Satan and Jesus make appearances in this show, too.

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Duct tape and yuks: holding comedy hostage

Mar 14

Duct tape and yuks: holding comedy hostage

How strange it is to see two wildly different comedies at two different theaters and find they have something in common: plot twists that involve the restraining of characters by tying them down with duct tape. Since when did that become an element of slapstick? Has someone alerted Abbott and Costello? At the SF Playhouse, more than half the cast spends the second act bound to chairs with duct tape and plastic wrap (with extra cling, no doubt) in Stephen Adley Guirgis’ Den of Thieves. And down in Palo Alto at the Lucie Stern Theatre, the TheatreWorks production of Sunsets and Margaritas by José Cruz González also hauls out the sturdy gray multi-use tape to restrain a major character. One more instance of this and we’d have ourselves a trend (apparently a trend only requires a trio of appearances).

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The force & Kiki

Jan 31

Here’s some interesting local theater news — some high-powered casting, a Skywalker-y night out and, be still my heart, the return of Kiki & Herb: Carl Lumbly, last seen on TV’s “Alias,” heads the cast of Jesus Hopped the `A’ Train, the next show at SF Playhouse. Other cast members include Susi Damilano, Daveed Diggs, Joe...

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