Juliet and Juliet and Juliet

Juliet and Juliet and Juliet

Show #31: Juliet, San Francisco State University, March 12.

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Give That Girl a Hand

Give That Girl a Hand

Show #30: Handless, Ragged Wing Ensemble, March 5.

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Concerning Strained Devices

Concerning Strained Devices

Oy vey, this play. There’s a lot of interesting subject matter in Berkeley Repertory Theatre’s world premiere of Naomi Iizuka’s Concerning Strange Devices from the Distant West about the introduction of photography to Japan in the 1800s, but what we get of that is told rather than illustrated, emerging in expository lectures between characters or direct address. It’s staged by Les Waters with a surfeit of style, but what’s being told isn’t really a story so much as various scenes with Americans in Yokohama in the late 19th and early 21st centuries holding forth on photography or Japanese culture, a bit like a series of blog ruminations converted into dialogue and monologue.

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Shining Mirrors

Shining Mirrors

When you walk into Intersection for the Arts to see Mirrors on Every Corner, the new play by 25-year-old playwright Oakland native Chinaka Hodge, it looks more like a gallery exhibit than a stage set. Evan Bissell’s art installation and set design run together, with a mural on the rear wall of one Mission family and a side wall of framed portraits and short ruminations on race and identity from other families around the neighborhood. The seats are obscured by two rolling dividers displaying large photos of the flattened Nimitz Freeway right after the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake and what looks like the shiny new Mandela Gateway apartment complex across the street from West Oakland BART. A card table with hands dealt sits in the middle of the room, and a baby bassinet hangs low from the ceiling in the corner.

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Anonymous by Chekhov by Graves

Anonymous by Chekhov by Graves

Let’s get this out of the way first. An Anonymous Story by Anton Chekhov isn’t one of Chekhov’s plays. Like most Central Works plays, it’s by company co-director Gary Graves in collaboration with the cast and crew. It is, however, based on a novella by Chekhov, as was Central Works’ 2004 play The Duel. Nor is the anonymous narrator truly anonymous: he goes by a couple of different names in the story, but we first meet him as Stepan, a servant in the house of a St. Petersburg government functionary named Orlov.

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Doing a Dahmer

Doing a Dahmer

Show #26: Don’t Feel: The Death of Dahmer, Mama Calizo’s Voice Factory & 1 1 11ArtGroup, February 27.

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Dancing in the Lesbian Bar

Dancing in the Lesbian Bar

Show #25: The Beebo Brinker Chronicles, Brava! for Women in the Arts, February 26.

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Chalked up to Experience

28 February, 2010 Theater 1 comment
Chalked up to Experience

Director John Doyle previously came to American Conservatory Theater to kick off the national tour of his acclaimed stripped-down Broadway staging of Sweeney Todd, in which all the instruments were played by the actors. Now he’s back at ACT taking a similar tack with the core acting company and a few ACT MFA students on Bertolt Brecht’s The Caucasian Chalk Circle, in a new translation by local actress Domenique Lozano.

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Priceless Pearls

27 February, 2010 Theater 5 comments
Priceless Pearls

Show #23: Pearls over Shanghai, Thrillpeddlers, February 21.

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Curiosity Killed

26 February, 2010 Theater No comments
Curiosity Killed

Show #22: The Gilded, the Curiouser Group, February 21.

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