The Cutting Ball Theater is performing all five of August
Strindberg‘s Chamber Plays in rep (the first time it’s been done in any language), and I tell you all about it in today’s Marin Independent Journal, reporting back on the first installment, The Ghost Sonata. I will say that it makes me awfully jazzed to see the rest of them. Read more
As company-in-residence at Exit on Taylor, the avant-garde Cutting Ball Theater strikes an odd contrast with the Tenderloin District right outside its doors. Inside, challenging works by Ionesco, Beckett or Will Eno may compete with the hollering of heavily lubricated voices outside, and walking down the street to BART or one’s car from the show can be an obstacle course of homeless people, drug dealers and their customers.
I’ve had to take a break from the blog the last couple of weeks for a wide assortment of reasons, but I do have a review in today’s Marin Independent Journal, of AlterTheater’s production of Jose Rivera’s References to Salvador Dali Make Me Hot.
Cutting Ball cut its teeth (or, I suppose, its ball) on experimental theater, so the only real surprise about the company dabbling in ensemble devised theater is that it hasn’t done it before. Codirected by associate artistic director Paige Rogers and Annie Paladino, the commissioned world premiere Tontlawald is inspired by the work of Poland’s Teatr Zar, which came to the city last year as part of the San Francisco International Arts Festival (although this piece has been in the works a few years longer than that).
Show #108: Pelleas & Melisande, Cutting Ball Theater, October 30.
Show #25: Lady Grey (in ever lower light) and other plays, Cutting Ball Theater, March 18.
Show #5: Bone to Pick & Diadem, the Cutting Ball Theater, January 20.
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.
Show #35: …And Jesus Moonwalks the Mississippi, Cutting Ball, March 21.
Top Ten Theater Productions of 2009
Although I started 2009 reviewing theater for one paper and ended the year reviewing for another, when I look over the list of the 108 shows I saw over the course of the year to determine my top ten, I realize that none of my favorite shows are ones that I actually reviewed. Those respective papers have space, money and geographical constraints, and it just happened that there was no overlap between the shows in my review docket and those in this year’s top ten.