Theater

Sounds of silence

Nina Raine's 'Tribes' explores a specific and general deafness

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Moscow weather report

Notes from the Russia Case offerings at the Golden Mask Festival

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THEATER Moscow's temperatures had been climbing up to 70 degrees just a week before my arrival, but by the first of April, it had slipped back into the 30s and 40s, collecting snow on the ground and clouds overhead in a gloomy replay of winter. In a novel this would have looked like a cheap literary device: nature manifesting a political climate that had also grown decidedly chillier. But with Russia's recent reabsorption of Crimea, and talk everywhere of a new Cold War, it was pretty apt nonetheless.Read more »

'Venus in Fur' electrifies at A.C.T.

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Good lord, this play is hot, hot, hot. Rave reviews of its run in New York last year -- mostly heralding the rise of Broadway newcomer Nina Arianda -- gave me pause. Could our own A.C.T. pull off this super-steamy, sometimes-harrowing, consistently enthralling sex comedy without Arianda's now-famous starpower?

No fear. Sensational actors Brenda Meaney and Henry Clarke stole the audience's breath away, when playwright David Ives' perverse 2010 take on novelist Leopold von Sacher-Masoch's perverse 1870 masterpiece opened at A.C.T. last night. Prepare to be intellectually and emotionally (and even a bit physically) whipped, beaten, and thrilled into submission.

And yes, there will be a touch of Velvet Underground.

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Movers/Shakers: Two rare visits by European contemporary dance-makers this weekend

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Here are two very special opportunities to see (and, in at least one case, join in on) the work of some leading European contemporary dance/performance makers passing through town this weekend…

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Rocked worlds

The Bengsons take love, life, and music on the road with 'Hundred Days'

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THEATER

There are two sides to every road. But ask a long-haul trucker, a traveling salesman, or a pair of wandering minstrels like the Bengsons, and they'll remind you that those sides converge at the horizon line.Read more »

A feast for the nonsenses

Cutting Ball Theater's Ubu Roi frolics in kitchen sink surrealism

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arts@sfbg.com

THEATER Alfred Jarry's Ubu Roi is probably better known for its riotous Parisian opening (back in 1896) than for the play itself. The profanity it leveled against the city's crème de la crème, beginning with its famous opening incantation, "Merdre!" — not exactly a word but dirty-sounding enough to precipitate a violent revolt long before the final curtain — broke open the doors of the WC on so-called polite society. As it turned out, no one was really keen or able to close them again.Read more »

Monologos de la Vagina finds new actress to replace controversial conservative

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Following national controversy over the resignation of a politically conservative actress from the local Spanish-language production of The Vagina Monologues, producer Eliana Lopez announced yesterday that the production has found a replacement.

Actress Alba Roversi, a veteran of the Spanish language Monologos de la Vagina, will take the place of Maria Conchita Alonso, whose departure from the play had Fox News crying foul over her being “forced out” for her conservative political views. 

Any chance to needle San Francisco, right? 

Roversi starred in over 20 Spanish language soap operas, though she may not have the same name recognition in the US as Alonso, whose filmography includes Predator 2 and The Running Man (with our former Governator). Roversi is in, and Alonso is out. Read more »

Expose yourself to art

Deborah Cullinan and Marc Bamuthi Joseph talk creative ecosystems and Young Jean Lee's 'Untitled Feminist Show'

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One of us

Emotional monstrosities animate 'Edward Gant's Amazing Feats of Loneliness'

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arts@sfbg.com

THEATER Take away their unconventional looks and odd talents, and the eponymous carnival performers of Freaks — Tod Browning's classic carnie horror movie — were not so unusual. Ordinary folks, for the most part, with ordinary problems and everyday virtues. The title secretly pointed to the monstrous souls of their "normal-looking" but heartless colleagues, corrupt to the point of betrayal and murder.Read more »

The art of dialogue

Voices and impressions from Poland's Dialog Festival
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arts@sfbg.com

THEATER Maybe there's no better way to grasp your own time and place than by leaving it — in this case, trading San Francisco for Wroclaw, Poland, and Pacific Standard Time for a whiplashing case of jet lag. Wroclaw was home base for a little more than a week during the recent Dialog Festival (Oct. 11–18; dialogfestival.pl/en), which was in its seventh season as a major biennial international theater festival created and programmed by Krystyna Meissner, a force in Polish and European theater for decades.Read more »