I interviewed the cast, director and set designer of It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play at Marin Theatre Company, and the feature is in today’s Marin Independent Journal. I know it says “Theater review” up top, but just ignore that; the review won’t be until next week. It looks like my “‘Tis the season” lead didn’t pass muster–dunno if it was that pesky initial apostrophe or just too corny.
The presidential debates are upon us, Election Day is just a few weeks away, and two local theater companies are getting into the spirit of the thing by staging gleefully perverse musicals about the U.S. presidency.
It’s not often that you see a guy in a Mexican wrestling mask just sitting in the audience at the theater, but then, it’s not every day that you see a play about professional wrestling. Everyone knows that wrestling is just as scripted as your average play, with the characters, twists, and outcomes all determined in advance, but I don’t know how much crossover there really is between the audiences of the ring and those of the stage.
I wrote up Jon Tracy’s steampunk reinvention of The Tempest for today’s Marin Independent Journal, and you can see what I thought of it over yonder.
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.
After creating a propulsive contemporary take on George Orwell’s Animal Farm for Shotgun Players’ summer show last year, this summer writer-director Jon Tracy followed it up with The Salt Plays, Part 1: In the Wound, a stunning, kinetic, poetic riff on the Trojan War that both was and wasn’t an adaptation of The Iliad. And if that wasn’t ambitious enough, Tracy followed his Iliad up this December with–what else?–his Odyssey, following his cold-blooded, business-suited strategist Odysseus on his long-delayed voyage home to his waiting wife Penelope.
An old colleague of mine from the good old days of the East Bay Express, Daniel Heath has done pretty well for himself since he took up playwriting five years ago to join the PlayGround pool of one-act writers. Last year PianoFight produced his Choose Your Own Adventure-style audience-voted sex comedies, Fork Off Down Your Own Forking Adventure Which You’ve Forked: FORKING! and A Merry FORKING! Christmas, and this December the Climate Theatre will unveil his rock musical update of a Restoration comedy, The Man of Rock.
THEATER REVIEW: SAN FRANCISCO
Show #49: Slasher, SF Playhouse, May 1.
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.