Soup Kitchen Confidential

Soup Kitchen Confidential

Shotgun cooks up redemption in soup kitchen drama Grand Concourse.

My review is in the East Bay Times and Mercury News. Read more

Bun in the Oven, Fire in the Loins

Bun in the Oven, Fire in the Loins

Shotgun Players gets uncomfortable with Penelope Skinner’s The Village Bike. 

Read my review in the East Bay Times and Mercury News. Read more

Putting the Nick Back in Antigone

Putting the Nick Back in Antigone

Shotgun Players’ Antigonick is the third bold new interpretation of Sophocles’ ancient tragedy Antigone to be produced by a Bay Area theater in the last couple of months.

Read my review on KQED Arts. Read more

Angst at the Picnic

Angst at the Picnic

In some ways the play is as perplexing as its title. The latest world premiere from Crowded Fire Theater, Amelia Roper’s She Rode Horses Like the Stock Exchange (a title I’m completely incapable of reading without singing it to the tune of Beck’s “Where It’s At”), features four people sitting around in a park making awkward small talk for 75 minutes. They’re two investment bankers and their spouses, and there’s some material in the play about financial shenanigans and the consequences thereof, which is a timely topic but touched on only elliptically. Instead there’s a lot of forced smiles, bizarre non sequiturs and existential dread. They’re almost all strangely childlike, like confused grade schoolers perplexed by the world around them.

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Fire in the Home

Fire in the Home

How far would you go along to get along? Find out when Mark Jackson directs a new translation of Max Frisch’s 1958 play The Arsonists at Aurora Theatre Company. My review‘s at KQED Arts.

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A Cesspool to Celebrate

13 December, 2012 Theater 3 comments
A Cesspool to Celebrate

There have been umpteen zillion variations and adaptations of Woyzeck, assembled from unsorted fragments that author Georg Büchner left when he died in 1837 at the age of 24. The Shotgun Players production under the direction of local auteur Mark Jackson uses a high-profile musical version from the year 2000, adapted by Ann-Christin Rommen and Wolfgang Wiens with a concept by original director Robert Wilson and songs by Tom Waits and his wife Kathleen Brennan that Waits later recorded on his 2002 album Blood Money.

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And Then There’s Maud

And Then There’s Maud

San Francisco playwright/director Mark Jackson started a fruitful relationship with Berkeley’s Aurora Theatre Company with his 2006 production of Oscar Wilde’s Salome. While Shotgun Players across town has premiered many of Jackson’s own works as a writer/director, his work with Aurora up till now has been strictly as a director, focused on inventive stagings of classics such as August Strindberg’s Miss Julie and a new adaptation of Franz Kafka’s Metamorphosis. Now Aurora has commissioned a new play that goes right back to Salome with Salomania, about onetime San Franciscan dancer Maud Allan.

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Girl Anachronism

18 December, 2011 Theater No comments
Girl Anachronism

American theater started as a criminal act. The first play performed in English in the colonies was Ye Bare and Ye Cubbe, a satirical stab at the English throne performed in rural Virginia in 1665. As Shakespeare’s contemporaries could attest a generation before, the Puritans were no fans of theater. Performing plays was a crime under their governance, and so was breaking the Sabbath—so this play performed in a tavern on Sunday was doubly forbidden, even disregarding any treasonous content. The show was reprised in a command performance in court, where it was judged harmless.

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