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Risk Is This: Cutting Ball's Experimental Play Festival

Experimental work is given free reign at Cutting Ball's theater festival - making it a major creative luxury in a world where artistry doesn't always outrank minor considerations like budget. Or the understandable desire for ticket sales, when the known often outsells the unknown. Cutting Ball's annual festival offers artists a chance to test boundaries and audiences a chance to participate in the creative process. Here are the highlights of the five staged readings in this year's festival:

Almost-Pulitzer-Winner Will Eno's Lady Grey Plays at Exit on Taylor

Lady Grey is a theatrical snake charmer, mesmerizing the audience with deftly woven tales of lost love, how people hide from each other, and the trauma that can be inflicted by elementary school show-and-tell. Alternating between confiding in and cursing the audience, Lady Grey jumps lightly through mysterious/revealing narratives. Lady Grey (in ever lower light) is one of Will Eno’s three short plays making their local premiere at Cutting Ball. 

Intermission is a super meta mirror, where the audience watches another audience as they wait for the second act to begin. Mr. Theatre Comes Home Different lives out the seven ages of man, with references that span theatrical history from Shakespeare to Stoppard.  

Cutting Ball's The Tempest

Monsters lurk in all of us, especially those of us whose personalities were invented by Shakespeare. Known for its uniquely San Francisco-leaning interpretations of the infamous bard - and for a raft of local Best Of awards - Cutting Ball Theater opens its season with a three-person chamber version of The Tempest.

Orange is the Color of Odd: 'The Bald Soprano'

If you’ve ever taken a Spanish class and been herded through stilted “Where is the park?” “The park? Why the park is here!” paces, you’ll appreciate the deliciously odd and disconnected dialogue of Eugene Ionesco’s absurdist masterpiece The Bald Soprano. After attempting to learn English in 1948, the French-Romanian playwright’s desire to communicate with the Anglos of the world morphed into a play with language so simple, yet chewy and complex, that it seems to be a separate character with a will of its own.

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