Vietgone at ACT

Mar 12

<i>Vietgone</i> at ACT

Bold, irreverent, and laugh-out-loud funny, Qui Nguyen's Vietgone, at American Conservatory Theater's Strand Theater, can also be frustratingly scattershot and amateurish.

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Complex, human look at gun violence in Berkeley Rep Hours

Mar 02

Complex, human look at gun violence in Berkeley Rep <i>Hours</i>

Julia Cho is exactly the kind of playwright I crave. She's thoughtful, adventurous and fanciful in a way that relates directly to reality (she's not a fantasist – her flights mean something in the day to day). She cares about people and their messes, both internal and external. Her Aubergine at Berkeley Repertory Theatre was a revelation (read my review here) and has become one of my favorite plays in recent memory. Her play Office Hour, now at Berkeley Rep's Peet's Theatre, is a thorny piece of work.

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Floating on air in rock musical Weightless

Mar 01

Floating on air in rock musical <i>Weightless</i>

In this version of the story, adapted by Dan Moses and Kate Kilbane, the horrible things aren't quite as godawful as they are in Ovid (the cannibalism, for instance, is absent), but they're still pretty bad, and they (surprise surprise) fit right into our collective #MeToo moment.

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Shavian wit still dwells in Aurora’s Houses

Feb 04

Shavian wit still dwells in Aurora’s <i>Houses</i>

George Bernard Shaw's Widowers' Houses last played Berkeley's Aurora Theatre Company more than 20 years ago, and though the theater company has come up on the world (bigger, spiffier theater), the satirical world of Shaw's play still reflects badly on our own lack of evolution where greed, poverty and decency are concerned.

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Riveting drama in Morisseau’s Skeleton Crew

Feb 01

Riveting drama in Morisseau’s <i>Skeleton Crew</i>

What an incredible talent to balance the dark weight of tragedy and the electrifying light of hope. That's what playwright Dominique Morisseau does in Skeleton Crew, a powerful play now at Marin Theatre Company (in a co-production with TheatreWorks Silicon Valley).

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Party on, Pinter! ACT throws a Birthday bash

Jan 30

Party on, Pinter! ACT throws a <i>Birthday</i> bash

There's a lot to love about American Conservatory Theater's The Birthday Party, a funny, slightly freaky Harold Pinter. The cast is uniformly strong, director Carey Perloff (essaying her last directorial effort as ACT's artistic director) deftly balances the unease and the humor. But for me, the joy, the electrical charge, the bright light of the production is ...

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2017 theater in review: Reflections on a powerful year

Dec 28

2017 theater in review: Reflections on a powerful year

If you're a theater fan, 2017 was a very good year. If you're an American, depending on your point of view, 2017 was a terrifying year. Quite often, it seemed, the theatrical stage and the national stage were in direct conversation.

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