We’re all too familiar with the narrative infrastructure of ODC Theater’s latest musical, OMFG: Lonely man meets lonely woman. They flirt. They exaggerate their case for why they’d make ideal companions. True identities are revealed. Love is in the balance.
Once upon a time these types of encounters were the marked territory of contrived rom-com cinema, but the veils and deceptions of the Internet have made everyone with a laptop a potential author of such yarns. All the virtual world is a stage (too), the perfect place to ignore what we see in the mirror. So people bend the truth and hide insecurities as best they can. Until they can’t anymore.
Believe it or not, Shakespeare was writing about real people - and people haven’t changed that much in the last five-hundred years. We still love, we still lose, we still act like unrelenting jerks, we still wonder who we are, we still get back up after falling and do it all over again.
Why focus on one theatrical discipline when you can take a needle and thread to all of them? With fifteen years' worth of multimedia dance/theatre/music hybrids on her resume, Kim Epifano has three new works going up at ODC Theater this weekend.
Inspired by her 2009 residency in Ethiopia, Kim Epifano developed Heelomali, a mash-up of movement, song, photos and personal narrative, developed with didgeridoo expert Stephen Kent and Burmese harpist Su Wai. Under the mentorship of Epifano and Kent, teens from Burma and Nepal fuse the traditional dance and music of their homelands with hip hop, Bollywood, and breakdancing to create a unique multicultural infusion.
If you’re prone to searching musicals for life lessons, the takeaway in Little Shop of Horrors is that you can find fame and fortune as a florist — if you’re willing to feed human flesh to a ravenous Venus flytrap.
Seymour (the florist) and Audrey II (the extraterrestrial plant he thinks will solve all his problems) have a mutually exploitative arrangment — Seymour uses Audrey II as his ticket out of his sketchy neighborhood and into a better life, and the man-eating space plant uses him for dinner.
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:
Drama as therapy, stylish theatrical fluff, sincere expression of love for our fair city—all are playwright-proclaimed possibilities here. A world premiere about San Francisco, The Edenites tells the stories of over-sexed trust fund babies, sci-fi geeks, bisexual socialites, famous writers, exes and new parents, and the world’s smartest roommate—stories that may sound alarmingly like your real life. (Depending on how many gay man dramas and debutantes your real life contains.)
Impact knows black comedy. So does local playwright Steve Yockey. Thus, a marriage is made in dark humor heaven.
Yockey is gaining some serious traction in the Bay Area and his fourth world premiere is currently playing at Impact. Disassembly tells the tale of Evan, an accident-prone man who beats his previous record of disturbing injuries by getting himself stabbed in the shoulder. As he heals, his apartment is invaded by his sister, his fiancee, a bitter neighbor with a troubling assortment of stuffed cats, and an influx of random visitors. Desdemona Chiang directs the convergence of treacherous secrets as Evan’s apartment becomes a hotbed of lies and disaster and, apparently, a whole mess of plush felines.
Who doesn't love the crazy blue dudes who jump around onstage and spray paint everywhere? The Smurf-hued bald men return to San Francisco this month to beat drums and walls and anything else that might conceivably produce a rhythm as they barrel through a high-energy show with no speech but plenty of music and physical comedy.
Bask in the presence of Hugh Jackman - also known as Wolverine, People’s Sexiest Man Alive, and award winning...everything. Who wouldn’t want to loll respectfully in the presence of all that? Especially as he’s serenading you with a voice that kills on Broadway - though many of us would be perfectly happy to listen to him read aloud from the phone book.
Possibly best known for his role in X-Men, Jackman has also starred opposite Nicole Kidman in Baz Luhrmann’s epic Australia and Rachel Weisz in The Fountain. He was served up as the object of somewhat irrational hatred on Scrubs and of gay man adoration on Will and Grace.
Warning: this play might make you wish your conversation was wittier and your brain was bigger. You may also vow to pick up Lolita again and actually read it this time.
San Francisco playwright Trevor Allen is a master of blending disparate stories into a seamless whole that sticks with you, possibly because the pieces are still falling into place days later. (There was a lot of "Oh, wait, NOW I get it" at breakfast the next morning.) Julia is a Nabokov scholar who comes packed with neuroses and dark secrets. She picks up the hitchhiking young hustler Danny and together they retrace Nabokov's 1941 journey from New York to Stanford.