Eclipsed demands attention at the Curran

Mar 12

<i>Eclipsed</i> demands attention at the Curran

Danai Gurira's intense, harrowing drama Eclipsed really only appeals to two kinds of people: those who care about women and those who care about basic human decency. Anyone else should stay home (or in the White House).

The history of humanity has not been kind to either of those groups, and Gurira offers a stark reminder that our so-called evolution hasn't progressed very far.

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Division on display in fascinating Roe at Berkeley Rep

Mar 11

Division on display in fascinating <i>Roe</i> at Berkeley Rep

There is so much event and detail in Lisa Loomer's Roe – a brisk re-telling of the events and people involved in the landmark 1973 Supreme Court case Roe v. Wade – that it feels like the world's speediest documentary, something you could only do on a mostly open stage, with actors making their costume quick changes in full view of the audience just so they can keep up. And by attempting to cover the (still unfolding) arc of the case, so much happens that, if it wasn't actually true, you'd never believe it.

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A spooky, funny slow burn in ACT’s John

Mar 10

A spooky, funny slow burn in ACT’s <i>John</i>

There are two Johns in Annie Baker's John, neither of whom we actually meet. One wreaked mental havoc on another person and the other is wreaking havoc on a relationship. Both feel like sinister external forces, but they are just two of many in this wonderfully bizarre, engrossingly enigmatic play by one of our country's most original and captivating voices.

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Fractured fairy tales shine in stripped-down Woods

Mar 09

Fractured fairy tales shine in stripped-down <i>Woods</i>

You've journeyed Into the Woods, but you haven't ever been into these woods.

When great musicals are revived, the first question has to be: why? Is it going to be another retread of a successful prior production? Or will it be a reinvention, a new take for a new time? Happily the latter is the case with the glorious Fiasco Theater re-imagining of Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine's Into the Woods.

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Humanity shines in ACT’s Splendid Suns

Feb 16

Humanity shines in ACT’s <i>Splendid Suns</i>

Let's be honest: sitting in a beautiful theater watching a well-crafted play is an absolute privilege, so where better to challenge our very notions of privilege and confront the reality that much of the world's population is having a very different experience than those of us sitting in the velvet seats? With a play like A Thousand Splendid Suns, the world-premiere adaptation of Khaled Hosseini's 2007 novel now at American Conservatory Theater's Geary Theater.

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Hellishly fun Hand job at Berkeley Rep

Feb 11

Hellishly fun <i>Hand</i> job at Berkeley Rep

Hand to God is just the spiritual exploration we deserve at this point in our sordid human existence. Imagine if the current administration reimagined "Sesame Street" in its own twisted, greedy, egocentric, power-mad image and you might get something like Robert Askins' hit play now at Berkeley Repertory Theatre's Peet's Theatre.

In a small Texas town, the Lutheran church becomes the epicenter for that most human of showdowns: between good and bad, right and wrong, authority and anarchy, virtue and sin, reality and fantasy.

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Sacred and profane: much to mull in Playhouse’s Christians

Jan 29

Sacred and profane: much to mull in Playhouse’s <i>Christians</i>

While the San Francisco Playhouse audience was delving into Lucas Hnath's The Christians, a powerful, fraught examination of faith and organized religion, protestors were shutting down airports in demonstrations against the Trump administration's ban on immigrants from countries whose religions posed a perceived threat to our nation. In other words, the spiritual and emotional chaos inside and outside the theater were well matched.

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