I wrote up Peter Sinn Nachtrieb’s world premiere commission for the ACT MFA class of 2011 in Thursday’s Marin Independent Journal, so go forth and read all about it.
I have not one but two reviews in today’s Marin Independent Journal: the cheeky Raisin in the Sun companion piece Clybourne Park at ACT and the new translation of Chekhov’s Seagull at Marin Theatre Company. You can follow the links in the last sentence to read all about ’em.
Here we are pretty much back where we started on this blog, with my Top Ten list of my favorite shows for the year. It was awfully hard to whittle the 126 shows I saw this year in the Bay Area down to ten, which is probably a good sign: that’s a far better problem to have than not being able to think of ten good ones. I limited myself to shows that actually opened in 2010, which disqualifies shows like Ann Randolph’s hilarious monologue Loveland that otherwise would be high on my list. Most links are to my original reviews earlier in the year, and the shows are more or less in order of preference.
This week in the Marin Independent Journal, I reviewed Marcus; or The Secret of Sweet, ACT’s conclusion of Tarell Alvin McCraney’s The Brother Sister Plays, and also reviewed Cinnabar’s double bill of Jack Paglen’s new comedy We (Heart) U, Nosferatu with Menotti’s opera The Medium. And you know what? They’re really, really good. So you should go check out those reviews, and check out those shows too while you’re at it.
If there’s one thing that drives me up the wall, it’s slapstick. I’m not talking about physical comedy onstage or onscreen—that stuff’s great, at least when done well. What I can’t stand is when slapstick happens in real life, when inanimate objects can’t commit to being inanimate and start falling and flying all over the place. When the world seems to be working at cross-purposes with you—or what Sartre called the “coefficient of adversity”—that’s when things get frustrating.
The culmination of American Conservatory Theater’s season, the world premiere of The Tosca Project has been a long time coming. Cocreated and staged by ACT artistic director Carey Perloff and San Francisco Ballet choreographer Val Caniparoli and based loosely around historic North Beach nightspot the Tosca Cafe, the ambitious piece has been in the works for four years.
I reviewed both ACT and AlterTheater’s new shows for today’s Marin Independent Journal, so you can check out my Round and Round the Garden review here and my Owners review here. Or pick up a copy if you’re in the North Bay, because it looks way better in print.
I’ve been feeling a little like a sucker going to American Conservatory Theater lately, because I haven’t liked anything there this season aside from the season-opening import Noël Coward’s Brief Encounter. But even with that sense of trepidation, Vigil seemed like a pretty good bet.
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.
Not quite an hour in length, Caryl Churchill’s two-actor one-act A Number isn’t nearly as well known as some of the British playwright’s older works such as Top Girls and Cloud 9, but it’s a marvelous, compact gem in its own right.