Shakespeare is a hard act to follow.
San Francisco Playhouse’s Bauer is the umpteenth local production by prolific local playwright Lauren Gunderson in the last few years, after
The Taming and Exit, Pursued by a Bear with Crowded Fire Theater, I and You at Marin Theatre Company, By and By with Shotgun Players, Silent Sky with TheatreWorks, Emilie with Symmetry Theatre Company, and Toil and Trouble and the short “Damsel and Distress Go to a Party” with Impact Theatre Company. But it’s the very first SF Playhouse commission that has reached the company’s main stage season. As artistic director Bill English explained in his preshow speech opening night, he was so enthralled by a documentary about painter Rudolf Bauer that he saw on TV that he asked Gunderson to write a play about the artist. Like a lot of Gunderson’s recent plays, Bauer already had a subsequent production lined up before it premiered, and it’s going to New York’s 59E59 Theaters in the fall. Read more
Gidion’s Knot is a hard play to take. As seen in director Jon Tracy’s brutally effective Bay Area premiere staging at Aurora Theatre Company, Johnna Adams’s drama is 75 minutes of nonstop tension, alleviated only by moments of grim humor.
Marin Theatre Company’s holiday show riffs on Dickens through the dead eyes of Scrooge’s partner.
A stunning local cast makes a sparkling Oscar Wilde classic a must-see at Cal Shakes. You can read my review over on KQED Arts.
Mark O’Rowe’s Terminus at Magic Theatre is a spellbinding, dizzying play in which it doesn’t matter a whit that it’s made up of three people standing around telling their stories. KQED Arts has my review.
The Language Archive is easily summarized by one bit of breezy irony: A linguist can’t find the words to save his marriage. Fortunately there’s a lot more to Julia Cho’s play, which debuted at South Coast Rep in 2009 and now makes its Bay Area debut courtesy of Symmetry Theatre. Curiously, it’s the second play about a linguist who studies dying languages to play Berkeley in less than a year, after Madeleine George’s Precious Little at Shotgun Players last fall.
I know he’s a fellow Berkeley High alum and all, but I could never get into Thornton Wilder. I’ve seen polished professional productions of Our Town and I’ve seen shakier community ones, but never one that I didn’t find mawkish. It’s just not my thing. So I’m maybe not the best audience for Wilder Times, Aurora Theatre Company’s assemblage of four short plays by Wilder, two from 1962 and two from 1931, but because it has a fabulous cast I decided to check it out anyway. I’m pleased to report that I found myself pleasantly surprised by two of the plays, even if the other two left me cold.
I have not one but two reviews in today’s Marin Independent Journal: Cinnabar Theater’s rollicking revival of Born Yesterday, featuring a hilarious Heather Gordon as Billie Dawn, and Marin Theatre Company doing Yasmina Reza’s God of Carnage just a couple of months after San Jose Rep gave the play its local premiere. So what are you waiting for? Click on the links in that first sentence to read all about ‘em.
THEATER REVIEW: MOUNTAIN VIEW
Show #79: Sense and Sensibility, TheatreWorks, August 28.